For former UFC Flyweight World Champion and current ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, his time in ONE Championship certainly has not been easy. In fact, he’s been met with quite the resistance.
One apparent problem for Johnson has been facing naturally larger opponents in ONE.
In the UFC, Johnson ruled the flyweight division, which had an upper limit of 125 lbs. In ONE, weight classes are different as fighters are encouraged to compete at their natural “walk-around” weight. The flyweight division in ONE has an upper limit of 135 lbs.
This, of course, has led to Johnson facing bigger and longer guys such as Japanese fighters Yuya Wakamatsu and Tatsumitsu Wada, as well as Filipino Danny Kingad.
“I’ve always had problems in my career facing longer, rangier opponents. Back at 135 in the UFC against Miguel Torres or Dominick Cruz and you look at a guy like Tim Elliott, who’s pretty long and wiry for 125,” Johnson told MMA Fighting in a recent interview.
“If you look back at my career, I’ve always had a little trouble with these longer guys. You’re just dealing with way more mass in competition. When you’re fighting guys who are just naturally a little bit bigger, they’re going to be bigger, taller, longer, it’s just another challenge to get through.”
Johnson, the former UFC Flyweight Champion, challenges Moraes for the ONE Flyweight World Championship on April 7, in the main event of ‘ONE on TNT’, the promotion’s return to U.S. prime time.
After joining ONE in 2019, Johnson expressed his willingness to “earn” his spot at the top, and didn’t ask for a title shot right away. Instead, he participated in the highly-regarded ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix tournament against the absolute best in the promotion to claim #1 contendership.
Following his victory over Kingad in the Finals, all that’s left is for Johnson to claim the ONE Championship belt. He’s one step away from achieving his goal.
“He [Moraes] is a great athlete. He’s been a great champion. He had those back-to-back fights with Geje Eustaquio and those are great fights to learn from. At the end of the day, we’re going to match up our skills and see how we stack up against him,” Johnson said.
Johnson wants all of his fans, especially those who have stuck with him and followed him from the UFC to ONE, to know that he appreciates the support.
“Those are the true fans. They appreciate the work I’ve put in. They want to see how my career unfolds. They’re following my journey anywhere I go. My message to those guys, I’m going to go out there and try to win this belt for you and keep on displaying amazing [MMA] skills,” Johnson said.