VIDEO | Demetrious Johnson looks forward to fighting for audience that ‘respects smaller weight classes’

“So in hindsight, if I were to be under the UFC roster, I would probably be getting a rematch with Henry Cejudo,” Demetrious Johnson told MMA Fighting. “And if I was to beat Henry Cejudo then who knows what would have been next. If I would have lost to Henry Cejudo then I would be right where I was.

“So why not take the opportunity to get out of my contract? Go travel the world and compete somewhere else, right? I mean, I’ve done everything that… Close to everything that you possibly can in North America besides sell 2.5 million pay-per-views and do the double champ champ, or whatever it is. So for me, I think coming over here to Asia to fight in front of an audience that respects smaller weight classes… I wasn’t gonna pass it up.”

The first ever UFC flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson is back on Sunday, March 31. He’ll be making his ONE Championship debut in Tokyo, Japan against Yuya Wakamatsu at ONE: A New Era as the third fight on the seven-fight main card.

For Johnson, his historic UFC title reign spanned across six years and saw him defend his crown a record-setting 11 times.

Johnson’s last time out came at UFC 227 in August 2018 when he was dethroned by Henry Cejudo in their rematch. Since then, the former flyweight king has been recovering from some injuries while preparing for the ONE flyweight Grand Prix that he’s about to kick off.

It was no secret that during Johnson’s time as a UFC champion, he didn’t get the respect from the fans or his promotion that he perhaps rightfully deserved. He has already been vocal about feeling the difference in that regard with his new fighting home.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/29/2019