ONE Championship kicked off a monumental month of fights with “ONE on TNT I” on Wednesday, 7 April, and the show had a little bit of everything.
There were highlight-reel finishes, competitive matches, and a historic World Title fight in the main event.
After the show was over, some of the night’s biggest stars spoke to the media backstage at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits that came out of the post-event session.
DJ Praises Moraes, Interested In Kickboxing
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson may be known as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, but he met his match on Wednesday night.
For most, that would be a tough pill to swallow, but Johnson was all class following the contest. He praised the Brazilian star and added that Moraes has more room to grow his legacy in the all-encompassing sport.
“It was a good win for him and a great performance,” Johnson said.
“[Moraes] went out there and finished me, and I think for him, [he needs to] keep on writing his story and get introduced more to the American fans. He just needs to keep on being active and fighting and put on great performances.”
There’s no doubt that “Mikhinho” will continue to defend the ONE Flyweight World Title against hungry challengers. As for “Mighty Mouse,” his immediate future might just come in another sport, as he floated the possibility of taking an all-striking match under the ONE Super Series banner.
“When you’ve been the best in the world for six years straight, it’s almost like you don’t want to put that pressure on yourself,” Johnson offered.
“So for me, I’m like, ‘Why not let me try a kickboxing fight with big gloves and say I had a professional kickboxing fight?’ So we’ll see.”
The American expects to return to the Circle in late 2021, but both the timeline and the sport are unclear. For now, the American has one clear priority.
“I just want to get back home to my wife and kids, and see what’s up,” he said.
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Magomedaliev Ponders Next Opponent
Raimond Magomedaliev earned his third consecutive victory on the global stage Wednesday night, as he used his formidable clinch game, strong grappling, and unique striking arsenal to defeat former ONE World Title challenger Tyler McGuire.
The victory, which improved the Dagestani phenom’s record to 8-1, put him in the ONE Welterweight World Title conversation, and he could be the next man to challenge the division’s reigning king, Kiamrian “Brazen” Abbasov.
Magomedaliev would certainly welcome a match with Abbasov, but he’s also been vocal about fighting James Nakashima again in hopes of avenging his sole career blemish.
“If you look at the overall picture, of course, it’s logical and there is a perspective there for me to fight for the title. But then, my ambitions and my ego inside says you have to fight James Nakashima,” Magomedaliev said Wednesday night.
The Dagestani athlete knows the latter option may not be possible given that Nakashima moved down to lightweight earlier this year and seems content in his new weight class.
And ultimately, that could suit Magomedaliev just fine.
“Again, as I said, my ambition wants it,” he reiterated about a potential rematch with Nakashima. “But logically, it’s better for me to fight for a title.”
‘Reug Reug’ Wants To Fight Again In A Few Weeks
Senegalese wrestling sensation “Reug Reug” Oumar Kane earned the quickest victory of his young mixed martial arts career when he defeated veteran kickboxer Patrick “Big Swiss” Schmid on Wednesday night.
The African heavyweight star was originally scheduled to fight Mehdi Barghi in the opening bout of “ONE on TNT I,” but the Iranian Wrestling Champion was removed from the card due to health and safety protocols.
Schmid replaced him on 24 hours’ notice, but that didn’t faze “Reug Reug,” who dominated the European mammoth en route to a first-round victory.
“There is no problem about that,” Kane said about the short-notice change in opponent. “I can fight with anyone you have in front of me. That’s why it doesn’t matter to me. I can fight against anyone, and I am ready for that.”
“Reug Reug” spent just 1:48 competing inside the Circle on Wednesday night, and he is eager to make a quick return – as soon as “ONE on TNT IV,” in fact.
“I am ready for the 29th of April,” Kane said.
“I don’t want to wait for two weeks or three weeks to have the next fight in front of me. I would fight every two weeks if I could get a fight. Every two weeks, I’ll be ready for that. I don’t want to wait two months before the next fight. I am ready every two months for a fight.”