Demetrious Johnson has no regrets as to how his UFC career came to a close.
‘Mighty Mouse’ is set to face Adriano Moraes next weekend at ONE on Prime Video 1. The bout is a rematch of their prior encounter at ONE on TNT 1 in April 2021. That bout saw Johnson knocked out for the first time in his historic career.
The bout with ONE Championship will be the sixth of the 36-year-old’s career. Johnson was famously traded to the Asia-based promotion in October 2018. In exchange, the UFC acquired former Bellator, and ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren.
The trade ended a near-decade-long run between Demetrious Johnson and the UFC. During that time, the flyweight became champion and earned more title defenses than anyone in company history. While it was a time of many successes, it was also a contentious relationship.
At the forefront of that relationship were issues with UFC president Dana White. On The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Johnson reflected on his UFC run. The flyweight made it clear he has no regrets, however, he also discussed his issues with the promotion.
“…I wanted to be the easiest champion, athlete to work with. I show up, ‘Who do you want me to fight? I’ll fight the next guy.’ But once they started to murky this stuff — ‘Oh, you’re going to fight this champion.’ Okay, let’s add some more money. Let’s add $1 million. ‘No, that can’t happen.’ Okay, well then if he doesn’t make weight, let’s fight for his belt. ‘No, can’t do that either.’ Okay, so where do I have leverage here? Where’s my power in being a champion?” (h/t MMAFighting)
Demetrious Johnson continued, “It was a crazy time. And I’m super grateful for the opportunity that I had, because if they wouldn’t have made a 125-pound division, then I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. 11 consecutive title defenses, the Ray Borg armbar, it was a great platform to be on and I took advantage of it and made the best of it. I might not have sold 4.1 million pay-per-view buys, but when it came time to come out there and put on a show and f****** fight, I did my thing.”