Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson’s mixed martial arts career has been nothing short of spectacular, and he added to his legacy as one of the greatest of all time in 2019.
The American superstar made the move to compete in Asia with ONE Championship and, despite facing stern opposition, he won three consecutive bouts to become the inaugural ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion.
It has been a hectic year for the living legend, but it was a successful one by every metric.
“I would say 2019 has been a phenomenal year. To be able to go 3-0 in ONE and capture the Flyweight World Grand Prix Title, I’m very grateful,” the 33-year-old Washington native offers.
“One of the biggest things that I would take away from it is that I’ve had no injuries — and I [previously] had a lot of injuries and surgeries in my career, so I’m very happy about that.”
???? ONE FLYWEIGHT WORLD GRAND PRIX CHAMPION ????"Mighty Mouse" Johnson claims the inaugural tournament crown with an awesome performance against a game Danny Kingad!????: Check local listings for global broadcast details????: Watch on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp????: Shop Official Merchandise ???? http://bit.ly/ONECShop
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, October 12, 2019
Johnson, who trains at AMC Pankration in Kirkland, Washington, kicked off his World Grand Prix run with a second-round submission victory over Yuya Wakamatsu in the tournament quarterfinals at the groundbreaking ONE: A NEW ERA in Tokyo, Japan this past March.
He returned to action in the semifinals at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES in Manila, Philippines this past August, where he defeated Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada via unanimous decision.
Then, he capped things off with a unanimous decision victory over Danny Kingad in the final at October’s colossal ONE: CENTURY back in the Japanese capital.
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Johnson is thrilled with his first year in The Home Of Martial Arts, but there has been another element to his travels that has really broadened his horizons.
“The biggest thing about [being a part of ONE] is just being around so many different people. It’s a very diverse company,” he explains.
“What I mean by that is I’ve fought on cards with the best Muay Thai athletes in the world and the best kickboxers in the world, and they’re all from different parts of the world — Italy, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, China — so I think that’s pretty amazing.”
Johnson has been a true professional, and he has taken every new obstacle in stride.
He had competed abroad just once in 31 professional contests before he joined the world’s largest martial arts organization in October 2018, but now he has battled in Asia three times since March.
Also, the American had to deal with new weigh-in procedures — with ONE banning weight-cutting by dehydration to protect the health of its athletes — and the global rule set, but nothing has fazed him.
“I consider myself a true martial artist. It’s something I love to do. It’s a passion of mine. I live the lifestyle, and I think that’s the biggest reason why I was able to fit right in,” the AMC Pankration representative offers.
“I walk around at 140 pounds (63.5kg). Now, I’m cutting to 135 pounds (61.2), and being fully hydrated has been pretty easy. [As far as] the rule sets, there’s not much difference, and I adapt pretty well. I felt like the transition has been very smooth.
“The timezone change has been something I’ve had to take into consideration. My second gym — Evolve in Singapore — has been amazing to me, so for my fight in Manila, it was very easy for me to get adjusted to the timezone thanks to them.”
The results speak for themselves, with three wins over tough adversaries and the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Championship belt around his waist.
For his next act, he will challenge ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes for his belt sometime next year.
Making the move to ONE was clearly a resounding success for “Mighty Mouse,” and he is looking forward to building on that foundation in 2020.
“Overall, I’m adapting very well to ONE Championship,” he says.
“I don’t like to compare this year to the last year or whatever. I’m just grateful to be a part of a great company and be healthy.”