Demetrious Johnson: It’s All Fun Competing At Natural Weight

We’re starting to see more fighters compete nearer to their walk around weight, in many of the promotions around the world. In ONE Championship however, you have no choice. And that suits Demetrious Johnson just fine.

Speaking to MMA Junkie, the former UFC flyweight champion discussed competing at virtually his everyday weight in his new promotion.

“Being 33 years old, not focusing on trying to cut down to 125, fight at my natural weight, it’s all fun,” 

Johnson has competed twice now in ONE, against Yuya Wakamatsu and Tatsumitsu Wada. And on both occasions, he was the noticeably shorter athlete. But ‘DJ’ states that the only difference, is the height and not their fight night weight.

“It’s just the size difference, right. They’re definitely taller. I mean, Wakamatsu and Wada were both taller, but when it comes to actual weight, I weighed more than Wakamatsu after the fight then I think Wada, I don’t know what the weight was afterwards, but they’re just taller. Wada was like 5-6 (5 foot 6). I’m like 5-3 (5 foot 3). I’m just a small, dense dude. That’s just how it is.”

Johnson believes that competing close to his natural weight, is allowing him to compete three times in this year. Something he hasn’t done since his early twenties.

“At the end of the day, it’s depending on what you want to do, because when I fight at 135 [lbs], this is going to be my third fight in the year. At 33 years old, I think that’s pretty impressive. When I was cutting to 125, I was throwing so much trauma on my body just trying to make that weight and blow back up to 141 in one day, so with me staying closer to my natural weight, which is 135, and then fighting there, I don’t have to have as much trauma on my body, my liver, my kidneys, all that stuff.”

In ONE Championship, the athletes are subject to hydration tests, as well as testing for weight, during fight week. Along with their own weigh-in system, ONE also have their own weight classes. So although he is still competing at flyweight, ‘DJ’ is fighting at 135lbs, rather than 125lbs. And Johnson is surprised that the system hasn’t been implemented in the West.

“I think at the end of the day in America, I don’t know what the commissions are waiting on. I think ONE are doing it right; everybody makes weight. When it comes to fighting or an event coming up, everybody shouldn’t be focused on who’s going to miss weight and who’s going to make weight. I’ll be surprised if Vegas didn’t have lines for that.

“When (ONE) signs guys, they’re like, ‘This is what you’re fighting at.’ Like, ‘You’re fighting at this weight class.’”

Along with the lack of cutting weight, ‘DJ’ said he is enjoying everything about competing in ONE Championship and the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.

“It’s a little bit of everything, like just being able to know who you’re going to fight next, all set tournament format. But like I said, I don’t have to hype the fight up. I will promote it as the fight gets closer with social media and all that stuff and training. But as far as, like, you don’t have to hear about the PPV numbers and all that stuff. It’s also awesome to be on a card where it’s not just mixed martial arts, it’s kickboxing and Muay Thai. That’s always fun to watch when you’re in the back room getting ready. Just to be in a whole different chapter, different rules, different weight cutting, just the whole nine yards.”

Johnson faces Team Lakay’s Danny Kingad in the final of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix, which will go down at ONE: Century, on October 13th. This will be ONE’s 100th event and will take place at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, in Tokyo, Japan.

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