Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson has achieved fame, respect, and adoration as a 12-time mixed martial arts World Champion, but there is one thing that is far more important to him.
His wife Destiny and their three children: 5-year-old Tyren Krisna, 3-year-old Maveryk Allen, and 6-month-old Tanyth Lea mean more to him than anything else, and they give him the inspiration to work hard every day in training.
“What motivates me is my family,” says Johnson.
“I love my children to death, they are my whole world.”
The career of a professional athlete is short but intense. Johnson knows he has to maximize his time while he is in peak physical condition, which means he has to sacrifice a lot to focus on his training.
However, he knows the long days in the gym during grueling training camps are necessary so he can secure his family’s future.
The compromises he has to make and the effort he puts in will lay the foundations for the rest of their lives together.
“I have basically dedicated my life and my body to a sport. When I’m done with it, I want to be done working, so I can see my kids grow up and take care of my wife,” Johnson says.
“When I am done, if I am unable to provide a life for my family and I have to work again I would have failed in my book.
“That’s my biggest fear. What motivates me to keep going is to not realize that fear.”
Johnson was raised by a strong mother who taught him the value of working hard to support his loved ones, but he faced many struggles when he was younger.
His childhood was blighted by physical abuse at the hands of his step-father, and he was later forced to abandon his studies in higher education so he could work to pay his bills.
Going through these experiences has made him determined to make sure his own children have the perfect upbringing.
“I want to be able to give my kids a life that I didn’t have [and] put them through college. That’s what means the most to me,” reveals the Washington native.
That also means spending as much of his free time with them as he can when he is free from the obligations of training camps and travelling to compete.
“I love to take the family to beaches, and I love playing with the kids in the sand, building sand castles,” he beams.
The life the Johnsons have would not be possible without Destiny. “Mighty Mouse” stresses that she deserves equal credit for their success because of her devotion and support.
The AMC Pankration and Evolve representative says his wife has been by his side to help make his dream a reality in many ways since the very start of his career – through the rough times and the smooth.
“She’s been with me ever since my second amateur fight, so she’s seen the ups and the downs,” he explains.
“From going through my broken hand and her giving me a bath because I couldn’t wash myself, to going to all my doctors’ appointments, and being there just to make sure I understand to take my medication at the right time.
“She’s basically my life – she’s my soulmate, my best friend.”
In the future, the 12-time World Champion wants to make up for the times he has had to spend away from home, and that is his only focus when his career is over, but for now, when he has his ONE debut in Tokyo to worry about, Destiny is there.
If he gets his hand raised again in his ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix bout, his schedule is likely to be busy for the rest of the year – meaning those days at the beach may be limited.
However, every bout brings him another step closer to securing his family’s future, and he will not stop until he has achieved that goal.