Former UFC flyweight champion and one of the all-time best MMA fighter Demetirious Johnson says that he has nothing left to prove to his former boss Dana White.
After nearly 18 months out of action, Demetrious Johnson is ready to get back to work and add another championship belt to his already impressive collection. Johnson is set to challenge Adriano Moraes for the ONE Championship flyweight title on April 7 in the main event of ONE on TNT 1. It will be the promotion’s first event to air on the network and Johnson’s first fight since his October 2019 decision win over Danny Kingad due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being able to compete again after several months of waiting, along with competing on a historic card for ONE has Johnson very excited.
“Absolutely, [this is big] especially being able to cater to the American audience,” he told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “I know a lot of people are used to me fighting on [ONE’s] own time zone, with it being super early in the morning. So with this—ONE Championship and TNT coming together and collaborating—and getting this title fight on live television is gonna be phenomenal.
“It feels good that things are slowly starting to get back to normal. ONE has been having a lot of fight cards over in Singapore and their government has been phenomenal working with ONE Championship and the athletes, and we’re doing our best to follow all the protocols. I’m just happy things are slowly getting back to normal.”
For Johnson, it’s been a successful run so far in ONE as “Mighty Mouse” has won three straight fights since joining the promotion following a trade with the UFC for Ben Askren in October 2018. He may no longer be the UFC flyweight champion and headlining pay-per-view cards inside the Octagon, but Johnson has proven during his run in ONE that he is still a top-notch talent.
After a record-breaking reign as the UFC flyweight champion—which ended with a split decision loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC 227—and signing with ONE, Johnson will once again compete in a five-round title fight. “Mighty Mouse” has gone 3-0 for the promotion in three-round fights, something he hadn’t done since his UFC on FX 2 win over Ian McCall in June 2012.
“It was nice going back to the three-round fights [for a little bit]. 15 minutes is a sprint for me coming from so many title defenses,” Johnson said. “But I like the five-round fights a little bit more because it gives me time to settle in, impose my will and my game plan, and my conditioning as well.”
Demetrious Johnson was asked about Dan White
Speaking to reporters ahead of his fight against Moraes at the ONE on TNT 1 card, Johnson was asked how important it is for him to show White that he’s still one of the top fighters in the sport. His reaction is priceless as the former UFC champion laughed at the idea.
— Andrew Whitelaw (@ASTJWhitelaw) April 6, 2021
“Hahaha,” Johnson said (h/t Andrew Whitelaw). “I mean, it’s not important at all. I mean, I know and I think the world knows where my skill set is. I’ve shown it in my last (few) fights. And I’m just going to go out there and do my thing. You know, hahaha, I’m not worried about showing anything to Dana White.”
Johnson was always one of the best fighters in the UFC in terms of skill, but he was never able to take it to the superstar level as far as pay-per-view buys go. Many UFC fans including Joe Rogan widely considered DJ in his prime has the Goat of MMA.
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