Yuya Wakamatsu is being counted out by almost everybody as he prepares to battle former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson this Sunday at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, Japan.
However, the 24-year-old Japanese fighter feels that he has some crucial advantages heading into this matchup with the MMA legend. One such advantage is his size.
When Yuya Wakamatsu and Demetrious Johnson came face to face for the first time in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon, it was clear that the former was the much larger man. Having seen how much bigger he is than his decorated foe, Wakamatsu is feeling very confident.
“I’m not nervous,” he told BJPENN.com in Tokyo. “He looks smaller than I expected.”
Yuya Wakamatsu added that he feels Demetrious Johnson might even be intimidated as he gears up for his ONE Championship debut.
“Yes,” the young fighter said calmly. “I think he was intimidated.”
Yuya Wakamatsu is currently on a one-fight skid, having recently given up a decision to rising ONE flyweight contender Danny Kingad. This loss was preceded by a TKO defeat of Mamoru Yamaguchi and a loss to Senzo Ikeda. Wakamatsu, currently 10-3 in sum, has finished nine of his wins by knockout or TKO.
Demetrious Johnson, meanwhile, has not fought since he gave up the UFC flyweight title in a razor close fight with Henry Cejudo. Prior to that loss, he set the record for most consecutive title defenses by a UFC champion. He’s a jaw-dropping 27-3-1 overall.
The winner of this bout will move to the second round of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/28/2019.