Demetrious Johnson joined ONE Championship this weekend as part of a historic trade which sent undefeated welterweight Ben Askren to the UFC.
The former UFC flyweight kingpin, Johnson (27-3-1 MMA), officially announced that he had joined the Asian-based promotion earlier this evening on Twitter.
— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouse) October 29, 2018
Demetrious Johnson leaves the UFC after eighteen career fights with the promotion.
During that time, “Mighty Mouse” captured the UFC’s inaugural flyweight championship and proceeded to defend that title a record-setting eleven times.
Despite his amazing success, Demetrious Johnson never received a hard push from the UFC in regards to promotion.
The pound-for-pound great, “DJ”, is clearly excited about his move to ONE Championship, a promotion that he says embodies the true spirit of mixed martial arts.
“I was always never the biggest fan of the way people went about promoting their fights over in North America,” Johnson told reporters (via MMAJunkie). “I saw it as a way some athletes used it as a way of bullying, as a way of trying to gain followers. When an athlete says on Twitter ‘why haven’t you signed the contract yet’ to another athlete, for me I see that as a form of bullying. All that’s going to do is stir people to go to that person’s Twitter or social media and say, ‘You’re scared, you don’t want this, you’re chicken.’ When I see professional athletes doing that, that are trying to embody the spirit of a martial artist, it just puts a bad taste in my mouth.”
The former flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, continued:
“I’m very, and I say with high praise, I’m very excited that I don’t have to go through that whole thing and (I can) be OK with myself as a true martial artist. And I felt I’ve always done that in my time here in North America,” Demetrious Johnson said. “And now that everybody does that, it’s in everybody’s DNA in Asia. It’s always about respect and promoting the fight the correct way as a true martial artist: We’re going to go in there and test our skills against each other. I’m very much looking forward to that way of promoting fights than it is in North America. That was something that I just didn’t fit in.
“People told me … there’s nothing worse than when I’m at the gym working out and somebody says, ‘Dude, if you want to sell more tickets and get your name on the (next box of) Frosted Flakes, you’ve got to talk more trash.’ That’s not who I am. I’m not a confrontational person. I do mixed martial arts because it’s something I love, and it helps me express my feelings. I’m an artist when I get to compete. Artists don’t run their mouth and attack people or cause a big scene. They focus and put their energy on what they love to do, which is being a martial artist. What I love to do, which is being a martial artist. So I’m vert much looking forward to it.”
With Demetrious Johnson no longer in the UFC flyweight picture, and current 125-pound champion Henry Cejudo rumored to be moving up to bantamweight for a fight with T.J. Dillashaw, many believe that the writing is on the wall for the UFC to close their men’s 125-pound division.
Demetrious Johnson says it would be “unfortunate” for the UFC to close the doors on the men’s flyweight division, but welcomes any athletes who would be effected to come join him at ONE Championship.
Demetrious Johnson says it's 'unfortunate' that the UFC might close the flyweight division. He believes the UFC should keep the division. But if the athletes from there want to join him in ONE Championship, he believes that will be the best place in the world to fight.
— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) October 29, 2018
“Demetrious Johnson says it’s ‘unfortunate’ that the UFC might close the flyweight division. He believes the UFC should keep the division. But if the athletes from there want to join him in ONE Championship, he believes that will be the best place in the world to fight.” – Damon Martin