ONE Championship flyweight star Demetrious Johnson has responded to some recent praise from UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Adesanya was recently asked who he considers the greatest fighter in MMA history, and promptly identified Johnson as his pick.
“If we want to talk about Ultimate GOAT, did everyone just forget about Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson?” Adesanya said on Submission Radio. “Just the perfect fighter… or near perfect.”
Johnson, who enjoyed a record-setting 11-fight reign as the UFC flyweight champion, is now the top contender in the ONE Championship flyweight division after winning the promotion’s flyweight Grand Prix in 2019.
Speaking on MMA Fighting’s What the Heck show, he responded to Adesanya’s recent praise, and shared his belief that the UFC middleweight champ is on his way to GOAT status himself.
“I think it’s awesome,” Johnson said. “I have nothing but respect for Izzy and I told him after what he did to Paulo [Costa], ‘If you keep putting on performances like that, you’re gonna be well on your way.’
“The way he dismantled him, it’s very rare that a fighter will do something in a fight that will make me think about certain things and what he did to Paulo, I was like, ‘Duh, simple. Footwork. That’s the easy way to nullify Paulo Costa’s striking,'” Johnson added. “What [Costa] did to Uriah Hall, Yoel Romero, he couldn’t do it to Adesanya because he used footwork.
“I was like, ‘Good for you, Izzy. You impress me all the time. After he knocked out Paulo I was like, ‘Yup, he’s on his way.’”
Israel Adesanya is next expected to move up to light heavyweight to challenge divisional champ Jan Blachowicz in a bid for a second title. Johnson believes that’s an excellent way for the middleweight to establish himself as one of the sport’s best ever.
“If he keeps doing that, and then goes up to light heavyweight, then if he goes up to heavyweight to fight Jon Jones, those are all the steps,” Johnson said. “I feel that he’s gonna be in the sport for a long time, a champion for a long time as long as he keeps on evolving. I feel like he has the mindset to do that because he watches anime. Anime always keeps your mind fresh and keeps you evolving.”
What do you think of these comments from Demetrious Johnson?