Demetrious Johnson reflects on ONE Championship debut

Demetrious Johnson, Dawn of Heroes
Image: ONE Championship

Many fans expected former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson to blow through former Pancrase champion Yuya Wakamatsu in his ONE Championship debut. Yet while Johnson ultimately earned himself a second-round submission win, the first frame of his fight with the young Japanese knockout artist was actually quite competitive.

Demetrious Johnson opened up on his entertaining scrap with Yuya Wakamatsu at the ONE: A New Era press conference in Tokyo.

“At the end of the day, I don’t rate my opponents,” he said. “Obviously Yuya Wakamatsu is tough. Being my first time ever competing in Japan, overseas, not having my head coach (Matt Hume) in the corner… I knew I was going to battle some adversity because that’s kind of his style. I knew I wanted to put the pressure on him, and when you put pressure on people, you leave yourself open to counter shots, getting hit. It happened.”

“He’s tough, he’s young, he’ll be back. It was a good fight.”

Demetrious Johnson also commented on his competition in the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix; Kairat Akhmetov and Danny Kingad, who also picked up big wins at ONE: A New Era.

“They were great matches,” he said. “Danny Kingad looked good against Senzo Ikeda and Kairat Akhmetov looked great against Reece McLaren. They were both great fights. Now those two will fight and I will fight the other gentleman (the winner of Tatsumitsu Wada vs. Ivanildo Delfino).”

What did you think of the debut ONE Championship win from Demetrious Johnson?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/1/2019.