The historic trade between ONE fighting Championship and Ultimate Fighting Championship has been finalized as the UFC has traded former pound-for-pound no.1 fighter Demetrius Johnson for Ben Askren of ONE.
Johnson is the longest reigning champion in UFC history but his head coach Matt Hume serves as an executive vice president at ONE Championship and there’s a big fights for Johnson against ONE contenders. Johnson was considered the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world until his Aug. 4 split-decision loss to Henry Cejudo in a flyweight title fight in Los Angeles.
Demetrious Johnson says he is very excited about his move to ONE fighting Championship:
“I was always never the biggest fan of the way people went about promoting their fights over in North America,” Johnson told reporters (via MMAJunkie). “I saw it as a way some athletes used it as a way of bullying, as a way of trying to gain followers. When an athlete says on Twitter ‘why haven’t you signed the contract yet’ to another athlete, for me I see that as a form of bullying. All that’s going to do is stir people to go to that person’s Twitter or social media and say, ‘You’re scared, you don’t want this, you’re chicken.’ When I see professional athletes doing that, that are trying to embody the spirit of a martial artist, it just puts a bad taste in my mouth.”
The former flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, continued:
“I’m very, and I say with high praise, I’m very excited that I don’t have to go through that whole thing and (I can) be OK with myself as a true martial artist. And I felt I’ve always done that in my time here in North America,” Demetrious Johnson said. “And now that everybody does that, it’s in everybody’s DNA in Asia. It’s always about respect and promoting the fight the correct way as a true martial artist: We’re going to go in there and test our skills against each other. I’m very much looking forward to that way of promoting fights than it is in North America. That was something that I just didn’t fit in.
“People told me … there’s nothing worse than when I’m at the gym working out and somebody says, ‘Dude, if you want to sell more tickets and get your name on the (next box of) Frosted Flakes, you’ve got to talk more trash.’ That’s not who I am. I’m not a confrontational person. I do mixed martial arts because it’s something I love, and it helps me express my feelings. I’m an artist when I get to compete. Artists don’t run their mouth and attack people or cause a big scene. They focus and put their energy on what they love to do, which is being a martial artist. What I love to do, which is being a martial artist. So I’m vert much looking forward to it.”
Johnson has been very vocal about the way he has been treated by the UFC and says ONE would treat him like a champion.