ONE Championship

Zebaztian Kadestam believes loss to Ben Askren gave him valuable experience

Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam has seen many different battles in his seven years as a professional mixed martial artist. But for the Swedish standout, his loss against former ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren last year has had the most impact in his career.


More than a year ago, Askren dominated Kadestam en route to a second-round TKO victory. It was a humbling experience for Kadestam, but despite the loss, “The Bandit” acknowledged the lessons learned from the setback, which he said should prove essential in his career moving forward.

“This defeat was the best learning experience of my career because during my whole camp I was learning so much to prepare for Ben’s wrestling. It meant I developed as a martial artist just through the process of doing my training camp,” Kadestam told back in July.

“In the bout, I could see what he was trying to do, and his answers to what I was trying to do. Every 10 seconds, there was something he was doing that I could learn from. He was one step ahead of me in the whole bout, and I learned so much from experiencing that.


“I think my wrestling game has improved and changed completely as a result of that bout, and I am seeing it in my training. I get to a position and think: ‘How did I get to this position?’ It is from my experience of competing against Ben.

“Obviously, I was angry and disappointed immediately after the loss, but it was a learning experience, and it has actually made me a lot better. Martial arts is a journey, so you have to appreciate the ups and downs.”

Kadestam went on to put together a stunning performance against Malaysia’s Agilan Thani, whom he finished in the third round with a scintillating striking sequence.

On Saturday, 17 November, Kadestam has yet another chance to apply the lessons he learned from facing Askren as he heads toward his second chance of becoming a World Champion. Kadestam is scheduled to lock horns with undefeated American Tyler McGuire for the vacant ONE Welterweight World Title in the main event of ONE: WARRIOR’S DREAM at the Stadium Istora in Jakarta, Indonesia.


This time, Kadestam believes that he can handle the situation much better. “I’ve been training for these kinds of guys for so long, so I’m starting to get the hang of it. I’ve been training hard, and I feel good, so I feel confident for this fight,” Kadestam ended.

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