After almost 18 months out of motion, Demetrious Johnson is able to get again to work and add one other championship belt to his already spectacular assortment.
Johnson is about to problem Adriano Moraes for the ONE Championship flyweight title on April 7 in the principle occasion of ONE on TNT 1. It is going to be the promotion’s first occasion to air on the community and Johnson’s first combat since his October 2019 choice win over Danny Kingad because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having the ability to compete once more after a number of months of ready, together with competing on a historic card for ONE has Johnson very excited.
“Completely, [this is big] particularly having the ability to cater to the American viewers,” Johnson informed MMA Combating whereas showing on What the Heck. “I do know lots of people are used to me preventing on [ONE’s] personal time zone, with it being tremendous early within the morning. So with this—ONE Championship and TNT coming collectively and collaborating—and getting this title combat on dwell tv is gonna be phenomenal.
“It feels good that issues are slowly beginning to get again to regular. ONE has been having lots of combat playing cards over in Singapore and their authorities has been phenomenal working with ONE Championship and the athletes, and we’re doing our greatest to comply with all of the protocols. I’m simply blissful issues are slowly getting again to regular.”
After a record-breaking reign because the UFC flyweight champion—which ended with a cut up choice loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC 227—and signing with ONE, Johnson will as soon as once more compete in a five-round title combat. “Mighty Mouse” has gone 3-0 for the promotion in three spherical fights, one thing he hadn’t performed since his UFC on FX 2 win over Ian McCall in June 2012.
“It was good going again to the three-round fights [for a little bit]. quarter-hour is actually a dash for me coming from so many title defenses,” Johnson stated. “However I just like the five-round fights a bit of bit extra as a result of it provides me time to settle in, impose my will and my sport plan, and my conditioning as nicely.”
With ONE’s flyweight division really being at 135 kilos as an alternative of 125 like most different promotions, Johnson is having fun with not having to chop that additional weight.
He does admit, nevertheless, that there was one thing a bit difficult about overcoming a weight lower to earn victories that was considerably interesting to him from an athletic standpoint. However as he acquired older, he’s blissful to maneuver on to a extra wholesome manner of doing issues.
“The blokes at 135 are a bit of bit taller however it’s good and refreshing [to not have to cut to 125],” Johnson defined. “There’s part of me the place I didn’t thoughts chopping to 135 as a result of there was nearly that [challenge]; are you able to dehydrate your self and put your physique at a deficit, make weight, after which bounce again to have the ability to carry out at a excessive stage, excessive tempo efficiency? I do know I can do it. It’s nearly like that gamesmanship.
“However the different a part of me was like, ‘Dude, you’re f*ckin 34 years outdated. You don’t should be sitting in a bath attempting to chop to 125. Screw this.’”
Moraes has been the champion for the overwhelming majority of a seven-year stretch in ONE. After dropping the title through cut up choice to Geje Eustaquio in June 2018, “Mikinho” recaptured the belt seven months later with a unanimous choice win over Eustaquio.
As he prepares to face Moraes in his first title protection of this present run, Johnson feels assured he brings quite a bit to the desk the present champion hasn’t seen earlier than.
“He’s had a fantastic run,” Johnson stated of Moraes. “I just like the combat. It’s a superb combat for me, he’s very lengthy, large, a superb grappler for the load class and I’m simply gonna go on the market, do what I do greatest and simply go on the market and combat.
“His preventing type is a bit of bit totally different. He’s an enormous athlete for the division, a fantastic athlete, likes to get in your again and lock in that physique triangle. I do know prior to now after I fought Tatsumitsu Wada—one other large athlete—he acquired the physique triangle on me and it took me three minutes to get these lengthy ass legs untangled from my physique.
“So I’m trying to go on the market and impose my will. I don’t assume he’s ever fought an athlete like me. I believe he’s fought nice, one self-discipline athletes. With Kairat Akhmetov, he’s fairly good on the wrestling and standup, and Geje Eustaquio is fairly good with the putting, however I really feel the one factor I do higher than each of these guys is push the tempo and blend it up very, very nicely. I’m not scared. I’ve been in hassle in a few of my fights, I’ve been down, and I’m not scared to go on the market and combat.”
Johnson will probably be prepared for a 25-minute battle ought to that be offered to him. Ultimately, he’s hoping to do what all fighters try to do: decide up a memorable victory and are available out as unscathed as humanly potential.
“I plan to go on the market, blow the bricks off [of him], placed on a spectacular efficiency and are available out wholesome,” Johnson said. “That’s my greatest factor is popping out wholesome. I’ve gone to struggle earlier than and been thrashed, should ask myself, ‘Why the f*ck am I doing this? I’m hurting and I can’t do that and this.’
“That’s my greatest factor, I wish to come out wholesome. Get in and get out.”