EXCLUSIVE | Demetrious Johnson reacts to news of ONE Championship Flyweight Grand Prix

Demetrious Johnson

At a Wednesday afternoon press conference in Singapore, ONE Championship announced plans for a Flyweight Grand Prix. This intriguing flyweight tournament is expected to feature stars such as reigning ONE flyweight champ Geje Eustaquio, former champions Adriano Moraes and Kairat Akhmetov, rising contender Danny Kingad, and of course, new ONE Championship athlete Demetrious Johnson.

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Grand Prix Time! BOOM!!! #WeAreONE

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As you can probably imagine, Demetrious Johnson is thrilled about competing in this tournament. That being said, this will not be his first experience with the tournament format.

In 2012, Johnson competed in a four-man flyweight tournament in the UFC alongside Joseph Benavidez, Ian McCall and Yasuhiro Urushitani, which he ultimately won. It was this tournament triumph that kickstarted his record-shattering reign as UFC flyweight champion.

While this will not be Johnson’s first time competing in a tournament, however, he considers this ONE Championship Grand Prix to be very different from the UFC flyweight tournament he competed in all those years ago.

“It’s going to be a little bit different, because there’s going to be eight people instead of four,” Demetrious Johnson told BJPENN.COM’s Tom Taylor shortly after the Grand Prix was announced. “So it’s definitely 100 percent different. And it’s different [because] it might be in a cage, it might be a ring, so it’s definitely 100 percent different.”

Johnson, who arrived in Singapore mere hours before news of the ONE Championship Flyweight Grand Prix was announced, says he’s already been impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the ONE Championship team — particularly that of ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.

“It’s awesome,” Johnson said of his first impressions of ONE Championship. “I was very moved at how passionate Chatri was [in his opening remarks], talking about his company, talking about how he’s more interested in telling the stories of the athletes and bringing heroes to the fans.”

Johnson says he’s also been impressed by the support of ONE Championship’s Asian fans, who he looks forward to entertaining throughout the upcoming Flyweight Grand Prix.

“They’re absolutely amazing,” he said of the fans. “They’re very respectful to every athlete and I’m looking forward to competing in front of them.”

In addition to this ONE Championship Flyweight Grand Prix, ONE also announced plans for a Lightweight Grand Prix, which is expected to feature former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, Japanese legend Shinya Aoki, upcoming title challengers Amir Khan and Eduard Folayang, Turkey’s Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev, and Russia’s Timofey Nastyukhin, among others.

How do you think Demetrious Johnson will perform in this epic ONE Championship Flyweight Grand Prix?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/7/2018.