Demetrious Johnson Appreciates Fans Who’ve Followed Him To ONE
There is little doubt that Demetrious Johnson is one of the most accomplished mixed martial artists of all time. Making a name for himself in the UFC, he became one of the pioneering athletes in the flyweight division. After winning the UFC flyweight title, ‘Mighty Mouse’ made a record 11 title defences.
With that, he staked his claim as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. Johnson’s career took a turn when he was traded to ONE Championship. In exchange, the UFC received former ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren. With ONE, ‘DJ’ has three wins and is scheduled to challenge Adriano Moraes for the ONE flyweight title on February 24th in Singapore.
Appreciating The Praise
While Johnson isn’t the biggest fan of the GOAT label, he is a fan of the respect he receives from other fighters. Most recently, UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya called him ‘the best fighter in the world’. In an interview with MMA Fighting, the 34 year old said that he appreciates the praise he’s received from his fellow fighters.
“I appreciate it,” Johnson said. “I appreciate other athletes considering me being one of the best to ever do it. They consider how much dedication I put into the sport and my style of fighting, and how I approach my fights. It’s definitely an honour.”
“Those Are The True Fans”
Johnson also loves the fans who’ve supported him throughout his career, especially those who continue to do so since his move to ONE Championship. While he was in the UFC, he mostly competed in the United States. But with ONE, he now mostly fights in Asia. In the process, he’s also gained a new fanbase. Nonetheless, it’s the ones who’ve stuck with him from his UFC days until now that he appreciates the most.
“Those are the true fans,” said Johnson. “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 skills.”
“He’s Been A Great Champion”
Johnson, who hasn’t competed since winning the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix at ONE: Century in October 2019, knows Moraes will pose as a huge challenge when they meet next month.
“He’s a great athlete,” Johnson said. “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’s three opponents in ONE Championship have all had a significant height advantage over him. And it will be no different when he faces Moraes in Singapore.
“I’ve always had problems in my career facing longer, rangier opponents,” said Johnson. “Back at 135 [pounds] in the UFC against Miguel Torres or Dominick Cruz and you look like a guy like Tim Elliott, who’s pretty long and wiry for 125.
“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.”
Who will walk away as the ONE flyweight champion when Demetrious Johnson faces Adriano Moraes next month?