Phil De Fries sees no reason to mess with a good thing.
The KSW heavyweight champion successfully defended his title for the eighth consecutive time this past Saturday, needing less than a round to dispose of challenger Todd Duffee in the main event of KSW 79. De Fries has become a star for the Polish promotion, having gone undefeated since making his debut in April 2018.
De Fries appeared on The MMA Hour following his latest win and said he’s heard KSW officials liked his suggestion that his next title defense be against heavyweight legend Alistair Overeem.
“I’d fight Francis [Ngannou], put me in there with all you crazy fighters,” De Fries said when asked if he’d like to see KSW bring in recently released UFC star Francis Ngannou. “I’ll fight anyone on the planet. I can grapple, let’s do it. I think the Overeem fight, I think they’re in talks for that. That would be a dream come true.”
KSW has already announced that KSW 83, which takes place June 3, will be a massive event staged at PGE Narodowy in Warsaw, Poland, and De Fries is confident a fight between he and Overeem would help pack the house.
“They’re shooting for that,” De Fries said. “That is a dream fight for me. He’s a legend. I think that would propel me into the top 10. It would be a money fight, it would be a fight the fans want to see. Fifty-seven thousand people sitting there, what a career highlight that would be.”
Overeem has not competed in MMA since parting ways with the UFC in 2021. He most recently fought this past October, returning to the world of kickboxing for a blockbuster matchup with longtime rival Badr Hari at Glory: Collision 4. Overeem defeated Hari via unanimous decision.
Whoever De Fries faces for his next championship fight, there will undoubtedly be calls for him to test himself against competition in North America should he make it nine successful defenses in a row. However, De Fries has no plans to jump into the middle of the pack of another promotion like the UFC, even though he believes his skills would make him a contender anywhere.
“You know what I do, what a lot of people can’t — I can grapple, and I’m in there with Tom Aspinall, and Tom Aspinall is the best I’ve ever seen on any mat in all my career by a long margin,” De Fries said. “I’m mixing it up with him. On my day, I can beat anyone.
“But like I said, how far away from a title shot would I be in the UFC? Four or five years maybe, if I had an amazing trajectory. I’ll be 41, 42 then. And this game, you can get old overnight. I’m not feeling old though, but you never know when that might happen.”
De Fries previously competed for the UFC from 2011-2013, where he went 2-3 (including a loss to Duffee). It was a tumultuous time in De Fries’ life, as he was plagued by anxiety issues that went unaddressed for years.
Now, De Fries finds himself in a steadier headspace, which he attributes much of his success to. He’s also grateful to KSW and expects to maintain that working relationship until his fighting days are over.
“KSW has been nothing but great to me,” De Fries said. “I feel respected, I feel valued, I’m well-paid. If they have issues with me, they talk to me, they don’t fly about with everyone backstage, it’s great. It’s likely I finish my career with KSW.
“If I did go back to UFC, it would probably take us four years, like on a Tom Aspinall collision course up to the top. Forget what I’m getting paid now, and I’ll be, like, 41 then. You never know what’s going to happen, but I’m very happy where I’m at. KSW treats me great. They always sell out the stadiums, they promote you well, they’re just cool and great production values and I still think there’s great fights for me there.”