Michael Schiavello Believes Demetrious Johnson Is A Perfect Fit In Asia
The first and longest reigning UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, has found his new home in ONE Championship. And ONE commentator Michael Schiavello believes ‘DJ’ is a better fit in Asia.
At the tail end of 2018, history was made when Johnson and Ben Askren were traded between the UFC and ONE. Some fans believed that the move was the beginning of ‘Mighty Mouse’s’ demise. However, he has proven any such critics wrong, winning all three contests inside the ONE Circle, against tough opponents. And in doing so, winning the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Schiavello explained why Johnson is more at home at ONE Championship.
“I think he’s a much better fit [in Asia]. I think, with Demetrious’s personality and his approach to the martial arts and his approach to the perfection of his craft, this for Demetrious is not fighting. This is not just going in there and bashing in someone’s skull so he can take home a hefty pay cheque.”
Schaivello believes one of the biggest differences between the fans in the West and those in Asia, is that in Asia, fans are more likely to label mixed martial artists as athletes or indeed, martial artists. As opposed to just ‘fighter’s like in the West.
“Every time I talk to him, even though he’s pound-for-pound one of, if not the best in the world, it’s always a matter of, ‘I can improve.’ He’s always trying to improve his craft, and I think [he] gets the respect for that now in Asia, where the practice of martial arts is considered still a craft rather than just fighting. Demetrious is embraced across Asia as a craftsman, a master craftsman of the highest order who is always working on his art, and his art form is himself.”
This willingness to always become better is what pushed Johnson to new heights throughout his career. When he signed with ONE, Demetrious could have probably competed for the title immediately. But instead he is proud to have earned his shot by working his way through the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix.
Schiavello believes that Johnson will continue to build his resumé in Asia.
“There’s an old saying that a work of art is never completed; it’s only ever abandoned. And when you look at someone like Demetrious, that’s the way I think he’s embraced,” Schiavello explained. “He’s a work of art in progress. He’s still showing us things we haven’t seen before, or if we have seen them before, he’s doing them a little better, a little differently here in ONE Championship. There are differences in the weight cutting, in the rules, in the way bouts are judged over here, so maybe he has a little more room to move and express himself that he didn’t have in the West before in the UFC.
“So certainly I think that Asia is a better place for him. It’s where he can express himself, not as a fighter, but as an artist – he really does put the ‘art’ in martial arts. And he’s still a developing, improving, martial artist, a craftsman honing his trade.”
Demetrious Johnson is set to challenge Adriano Moraes for the ONE flyweight world title. The pair were scheduled to face off next month at ONE: Infinity 1 but due to the coronavirus, it has been postponed.