Demetrious Johnson on ONE Championship: I Love This Organisation
Demetrious Johnson made history in the UFC, defending his flyweight title eleven times, before being traded to ONE Championship in 2018. In what was an historic deal, Johnson traded places with Ben Askren. Although, his last UFC bout ended in a split decision loss to Henry Cejudo, ‘DJ’ is still seen as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Speaking recently to MMA Junkie, Johnson spoke of his love for ONE Championship and how he has no plans of ever returning to the UFC.
“I will retire at ONE Championship. This is my last organisation. I love this organisation. I love everything they stand for, I love how they take care of the athletes, so this is my last. This is it. Once I’m done, I’m retired. I’m like, ‘I’m done, peace,’ because there’s nothing else for me to prove for North America. There truly isn’t.
“I’m trying to make something of myself over here in Asia. And if I’m able to get another piece of gold, fantastic. If not, I look to put on some great spectacular performances. Fighting in North America for pretty much the majority of my career and each time I traveled to Asia, they’re like, ‘Can you please come over here and fight for us?’ We want to see you fight live, we want to see you fight live.’ I’m like, ‘OK, maybe one day I will.’ Now I’m over here fighting live for them. So I’m giving them what they wanted.”
Since signing with ONE, Johnson has had three consecutive wins, winning the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix last October at ONE: Century. ‘Mighty Mouse’ was set to challenge Adriano Moraes for the ONE flyweight title at ONE: Reign of Dynasties in Chongqing, China on April 11th. But with the recent Coronavirus outbreak, this event has been relocated. ‘DJ’ will now challenge “Mikinho” in Jakarta the same weekend. The card however, will now be called ONE: Infinity 1.
While Johnson is quite clear that he would like to finish his career at ONE Championship, he has plans to continue competing for some time to come.
“I give myself five more years. It all depends on the body, right? Like, I’m 33 years old. I fought three times last year. I think I’ll probably fight twice this year. So as long as my body is healthy, I’m having a fun with it, and I’m enjoying it, I’m just going to keep on going. But if I start, you know, getting knocked out, getting CTE and concussions and broken bones, I’m like, this isn’t worth it. I’ll focus on myself.
“I’m just being a realist. You know what I mean? I’m 33 years old. If I put five years at ONE, that’s what, I’m going to be 38 years old if my math is correct. Right, right, 38, 39. Then I’d be like, ‘Yeah, I’m done. I think I’m done.”
Johnson may be five years away from retirement, yet he is preparing for the day he no longer fights. He doesn’t quite know what he would like to do but has said he would like to help out his teammates. This would enable them to go on the journey he once went on. Looking back now, Johnson is grateful for being smart with his money.
“If I’m spending my money, I’ll just do whatever the f*** I want to do. Excuse my language, but yeah, obviously I think mixed martial arts is always going to be part of my life. Obviously I would love to help out teammates of mine and help them through the same journey that I’ve gone through as a professional athlete. A little bit of gaming, but you know, I’ve always been very smart with my money.
“Ever since I remember fighting, I remember fighting my very first fight in WEC. I remember being there in the locker room. Dana White was like, ‘I’m going to give $65,000 to Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night.’ And I remember being in the car and I’m like, ‘Man, I’m about to buy me. I’m about to buy me a WRX STI, can’t wait.’ And I remember my coach, Matt Hume, turned around and he goes, ‘No, you’re not. You’re going to buy a car, you’re going to buy a house, you’re going to invest. That’s what you’re going to do.
“So I’ve always been good with my money ever since that first fight in WEC, and that was back in 2010. I’m ten years deep in the game, and I’ve been very successful in my career so far, and I only look to be even more successful. So my goal is after I’m done I could decide whatever I want to do.”
Do you think Demetrious Johnson will beat Adriano Moraes, to be crowned the ONE flyweight world champion?