Demetrious Johnson Reflects On Phenomenal Year In ONE Championship
Since joining ONE Championship in 2018 via a ground-breaking trade, Demetrious Johnson has been very successful in the new chapter of his professional career as a mixed martial artist.
Johnson was immediately pitted with the toughest flyweights on the ONE roster to determine the first ever ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix champion and the next challenger for Adriano Moraes’ ONE flyweight title.
A stunning submission victory over Yuya Wakamatsu last March in Japan at ONE: New Era moved Johnson into the semifinals of the tournament, where he outlasted Yuya Wakamatsu over three rounds.
Demetrious earned another unanimous decision win over Danny Kingad in the Grand Prix final at ONE: Century, to finish 2019 as the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix champion. Speaking to ONE Championship, the 33 year old expressed his gratitude at the year he has had.
“I would say 2019 has been a phenomenal year. To be able to go 3-0 in ONE and capture the Flyweight World Grand Prix Title, I’m very grateful,” Demetrious exclaimed.
“One of the biggest things that I would take away from it is that I’ve had no injuries and I [previously] had a lot of injuries and surgeries in my career, so I’m very happy about that,” he continued.
The American athlete is also amused at how the promotion managed to mix things up in terms of showcasing the full lineup of different martial arts disciplines, which is far from what he was used to.
“The biggest thing about [being a part of ONE] is just being around so many different people. It’s a very diverse company.”
“What I mean by that is I’ve fought on cards with the best Muay Thai athletes in the world and the best kickboxers in the world, and they’re all from different parts of the world — Italy, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, China — so I think that’s pretty amazing.”
With the company’s firm branding of producing real-life heroes and exemplifying the true essence of martial arts, ‘Mighty Mouse’ now believes that he embodies the real spirit of the sport.
“I consider myself a true martial artist. It’s something I love to do. It’s a passion of mine. I live the lifestyle, and I think that’s the biggest reason why I was able to fit right in,” Johnson said.
The former twelve time champion adapted very well to new set of rules regulated by the Singapore-based promotion, particularly the weight-cutting procedure which prohibits dehydration as a method to lose weight.
“I walk around at 140 pounds. Now, I’m cutting to 135 pounds, and being fully hydrated has been pretty easy. [As far as] the rule sets, there’s not much difference, and I adapt pretty well. I felt like the transition has been very smooth.”
“The timezone change has been something I’ve had to take into consideration. My second gym — Evolve in Singapore — has been amazing to me, so for my fight in Manila, it was very easy for me to get adjusted to the timezone thanks to them.”
Demetrious Johnson faces a tough challenge in 2020, when he’s set to face the ONE flyweight world champion Adriano Moraes, but that’s next year and for now, ‘DJ’ is grateful of his 2019.
“Overall, I’m adapting very well to ONE Championship,” ‘DJ’ confidently declared.
“I don’t like to compare this year to the last year or whatever. I’m just grateful to be a part of a great company and be healthy.”
How do you think Demetrious Johnson vs Adriano Moraes will go in 2020?