‘DJ’ May Have To Prepare For ONE Title Fight Without Bibiano Fernandes
Former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is set to challenge ONE flyweight champion Adriano Moraes. ‘DJ’ was scheduled to challenge ‘Mikinho’ at ONE: Infinity 1 in Jakarta this weekend but the card was cancelled as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It is not currently known which card the fight will be moved to but it is expected to be part of the ONE Infinity Series.
Not only does Johnson not have a date for his title fight, because of the global lockdown, the 33 year old is unable to train with his good friend and training partner, Bibiano Fernandes.
Fernandes, who lives in Vancouver, Canada, is faced with travel restrictions due to the pandemic and is unable to help his long time friend with his training. Talking to BJPenn.com, the ONE bantamweight champion stated his concerns.
“I don’t know if I can do that, Because of what’s happening, we can’t cross from Canada into Bellevue. I could help him, but right now I can’t go down there because the border is closed. We can’t cross, and nobody can come here.”
Even though Fernandes may not be able to help Johnson with his training, he believes ‘Mighty Mouse’ has the right skillset to beat Moraes.
“I began to train with ‘DJ’ in 2010,” Fernandes said. “That’s when he fought Dominick Cruz. I think he knows the way I think about jiu-jitsu. He’s learned so much. You can see that in the last couple of fights he did. He’s finished people — he’s arm-locked people, choked people. I think I gave my skills to him already, [and] my knowledge of jiu-jitsu. We’ve spent many years together. Now it’s his decision and choice to not lose the skill.”
Fernandes has faced similar situations in the past, after his coach was unable to make his successful title defence against Kevin Belingon last October in Japan at ONE: Century, because of Typhoon Hagibis.
Bibiano, who had absorbed his coach’s knowledge, went into the fight alone and managed to pull off a submission victory over ‘The Silencer’. And now Fernandes wants Johnson to do the same.
“My coach, for my last fight, he couldn’t make it to Japan with me because there was a typhoon, ” Fernandes recalled. “He said ‘Bibi, I can’t go with you, but you already know what to do. You’ve already trained with me many times in your life. You’ve trained so hard for this, you’ve trained many years. Go out there and do your job.’ That’s what he told me. I can say that same thing to ‘DJ’.”
With a record of 30-3-1, Johnson has the highest number of title defences in UFC history, with 13. He was a part of the first ever MMA trade, when he was traded to ONE Championship for Ben Askren. Since then he has had three dominant performances at ONE, winning the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix in the process.
‘DJ’ already has to go into battle in his ONE Championship bouts without his head coach Matt Hume, in his corner, because of his role as senior vice president and match maker at the promotion. Hume is also Fernandes’ coach.
Do you think Demetrious Johnson will capture the ONE flyweight title without the support of Bibiano Fernandes?