The stacked card which takes place in Tokyo, Japan’s iconic Ryogoku Kokugikan on 31 March features four ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix bouts, including Johnson’s showdown with Japanese knockout artist Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu in the quarter-final round.
Johnson is absolutely pumped at the upcoming tournament, and is looking to take it one step at a time en route to the finals.
“It’s cool that it’s a tournament and I’m excited about it, but I’m more excited to go out there and compete for the fans,” Johnson said.
“The flyweight tournament is going to be awesome. [ONE] released the bracket, and it looks stacked from top to bottom. Any one of those guys can make it to the finals, but I’m just taking it one fight at a time. I have to get past Yuya Wakamatsu.”
Many fans and observers speculate that Johnson will simply barrel through the competition until he eventually squares off with reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes. But the 32-year-old American believes he has to take things as they come and not rush his opportunities.
“Mighty Mouse” has done his due diligence, watching tape of his opponent ahead of their showdown to analyze the Japanese athlete’s perceived strengths and weaknesses.
“Yuya is pretty tough. He’s got a lot of first-round finishes via knockout and TKO, so obviously he is good on the feet,” Johnson said.
“But I have faced a lot of good knockout artists in my mixed martial arts career, so I’m going to go out there, test myself against him, and see where we go from there. I watched the fight with him and Danny Kingad. Danny was able to control the wrestling, but Yuya was able to drop him with the right hand. Yuya loves that right hand. He loads it up, lets it fire, and knocks people down, but I’m just excited to go out there and see how my skills match up against him.”
Johnson is confident he has done ample research, and at this point, is just excited to showcase the skills that brought him to prominence as arguably the best mixed martial artist in the world today, pound-for-pound.
He wants to give a good account of himself at ONE: A NEW ERA, most importantly in front of millions of new fans in Asia.
“I’m going to go out there, fight my butt off, use my heart, use my technique, use my skill set, and go out there and take it to him,” Johnson concluded.
“I’m going to go out there and display my skill set to the Asian fans, and to the world.”