Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson’s long-awaited ONE Championship debut is within touching distance, and there is nobody more excited about it than the man himself.
The most dominant World Champion in mixed martial arts history starts a new chapter in his illustrious career on Sunday, 31 March at ONE: A NEW ERA in Tokyo, Japan.
He is scheduled to meet Japanese striker Yuya Wakamatsu in a ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix quarter-final bout, and the opportunity to be featured on this historic card has him highly motivated.
“I’m going to go out there and display my skill set to the Asian fans, and to the world,” the 32-year-old says.
“It’s cool that it’s a tournament and I’m excited about it, but I’m more excited to go out there and compete for the fans.”
The American’s signing to the world’s largest martial arts organization in late October was quickly followed by the announcement of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
Eight of the world’s leading flyweight mixed martial artists have entered the field, and seven of them have their eyes fixated on Johnson.
“Mighty Mouse” knows there is a target on his back and while that excites him, he is completely focused on his first assignment at the Ryogoku Kokugikan.
“The flyweight tournament is going to be awesome. [ONE] released the bracket, and it looks stacked from top to bottom,” he offers.
“Any one of those guys can make it to the finals, but I’m just taking it one fight at a time. I have to get past Yuya Wakamatsu.”
Wakamatsu was granted the first crack at the 12-time Flyweight Mixed Martial Arts World Champion and his knockout power will give him a potential route to victory.
That won’t intimidate Johnson, however, as he has witnessed every possible variable through 31 professional bouts.
The humble Washington native knows from experience that every opponent can offer a different challenge — especially a hungry youngster with nothing to lose.
“Yuya is pretty tough. He’s got a lot of first-round finishes via knockout and TKO, so obviously he is good on the feet,” the veteran acknowledges.
“But I have faced a lot of good knockout artists in my mixed martial arts career, so I’m going to go out there, test myself against him, and see where we go from there.”
Johnson is not afraid to test the Tokyo resident in any area of the game, but one of the standout features of his stunning 12-year professional career has been his ability to find a path to victory around his rival’s strengths.
The AMC Pankration representative is an extremely cerebral athlete who is equipped with a skill set that is world-class in every range.
His transitions between striking, wrestling, and submissions are unrivaled, and he has taken the time to learn about “Little Piranha” before they square off in the cage.
“I watched the fight with him and Danny Kingad,” he begins.
“Danny was able to control the wrestling, but Yuya was able to drop him with the right hand.
“Yuya loves that right hand. He loads it up, lets it fire, and knocks people down, but I’m just excited to go out there and see how my skills match up against him.”
"Mighty Mouse" Johnson & Eddie Alvarez are ready to BRING IT ????Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, 9 November 2018
“Mighty Mouse” wants to deal with Wakamatsu first before he sets his mind to talk of the semi-finals and finals, but every other competitor in the bracket is noticeably excited about being in the same conversation as an athlete who is widely considered as the greatest of all time.
ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes is paying close attention to him, too. He is keeping his eyes locked on the American’s every move and hopes to meet him in a World Title defense.
For now, Johnson just wants to entertain ONE’s global audience and make a strong impression in his promotional debut.
“I’m going to go out there, fight my butt off, use my heart, use my technique, use my skill set, and go out there and take it to him,” he promises.