ONE Championship is plotting an expansion into the United States, and Demetrious Johnson is more than willing to be a part of those plans.
Johnson, who will have fought twice in Tokyo and once in Manila by year’s end, discussed a potential return to US soil in a recent interview with BJPENN.com. He says he’s particularly interested in fighting in Hawaii, home to ONE Championship stars Christian and Angela Lee, and the perceived frontrunner for ONE’s US debut.
“It’d be fun to fight in the US,” Johnson told BJPENN.com. “Especially Hawaii. That’d be fantastic. Beautiful weather, beautiful beaches, beautiful culture. I mean, why not? Obviously I competed over in America for a long duration of my career, but if I can get back over here to compete a few more times on US soil, under the ONE Championship banner, sounds good to me.
“Hawaii sounds damn good, I’m not going to lie,” he added.
ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong has been vocal about his goals of bringing ONE Championship to the United States in 2020. While the organization will be entering a market that’s currently dominated by giants like the UFC and Bellator, Sityodtong has been adamant there is ample space for ONE Championship’s product in the US.
“There are several hamburger and soda chains in the United States,” Sityodtong told Forbes this summer. “There is room for more than one martial arts organization.”
If ONE Championship enters in the US market as planned, it’s very hard to imagine the Washington native and former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson not being a part of the debut event. Other ONE Championship stars like Eddie Alvarez, Angela and Christian Lee, Brandon Vera and Sage Northcutt also seem like logical choices for a potential US debut.
Demetrious Johnson will next compete at ONE: Century – Part 1 in Tokyo, Japan, which will air on Saturday, October 12 at 11:00pm ET on TNT in the United States.
Do you think we’ll see Johnson competing on US soil under the ONE Championship banner in 2020?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/26/2019.