‘I Loved It’ – Demetrious Johnson Reflects On View From Commentary Booth At ONE Fight Night 6
The ONE Flyweight World Champion has been at the top of the combat sports game for so long that he’s seen almost everything, but when he traded the 4-ounce gloves for a spot in the commentary booth at ONE Championship’s first show of 2023, he couldn’t help but be amazed.
Johnson traveled from his home in the United States to be at Thailand’s Impact Arena, and he loved the view of the action from the best seat in the house.
The flyweight icon said:
“It was great [to do some commentary]. I know Mitch [Chilson] and Rich Franklin. We trained together in the past. Those guys are all knowledgeable, and I loved it.
“[The show] was amazing. Major fights from start to finish. The Aung La [N Sang] fight was amazing. I think the crowd’s energy was more amazing than the fight itself, in my personal opinion.
“The Mikey Musumeci fight, Gantumur [Bayanduuren]’s resilience – his flexibility in his leg – that was absolutely amazing. And then that final fight, Chingiz [Allazov] versus Superbon [Singha Mawynn]. Chingiz blew the roof off.”
Allazov’s stunning second-round knockout to win the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Championship sent shockwaves through the global martial arts community, but one fight that Johnson referenced hit closer to home.
Mikey Musumeci’s ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Title defense against Gantumur Bayanduuren was as dominant as it could be without securing a tap.
After the match, Musumeci respectfully called for a bout against “Mighty Mouse” for a second time, and Johnson said he would be up for that encounter – though he won’t promise to grit his teeth through some of the situations the Mongolian found himself in.
“Yeah, I’m probably going to grapple with Mikey Musumeci. I mean, he’s a wizard. We grappled before. I told him, I was like, ‘Dude, once you grab my legs, I’m tapping because I am not going to play that game and test my flexibility.’
“I’ve had tears in my LCL and MCL before just fighting in mixed martial arts because my knees are pretty tight. So yeah, I’m totally down to do that. But I’m going to tap extremely fast [if he gets on a leg lock]. I don’t have the resilience that Gantumur has with my knees.”
Demetrious Johnson Buzzing To Return In World Title Defense
Topping ONE Championship’s first-ever event on U.S. turf, Johnson will put his ONE Flyweight World Title on the line against “Mikinho.” Currently, each man holds a knockout victory over the other.
However, after bouncing back from the first stoppage defeat of his career in their original encounter, “Mighty Mouse” only sees himself being even more improved when his rubber match with Moraes takes place at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado.
“I’m just going to go out there and try to be the best Demetrious Johnson that I can be. When we looked at the first fight against him, we saw a lot of things, and then we were able to execute it in the second fight.
“In the third fight, I plan on doing the exact same thing, just being in better shape, faster, stronger, and taking the fight to him.”
Often referred to as the greatest MMA fighter of all time – and certainly the most dominant flyweight ever – Johnson believes it is that constant quest for improvement and refinement that has earned him those plaudits.
That’s why, when he meets Moraes for the third time, he thinks he’ll give another performance worthy of the GOAT tag.
“I think the answer to [what sets me apart from the other fighters in the conversation] is I feel like the whole time, I’ve always been growing and just understanding my style.
“Obviously now, people are seeing it more because I battled adversity when I fought Adriano Moraes for the first time. A lot of athletes when they suffer a huge defeat and get knocked out, they get kind of gun-shy.
“But for me, I think I’m just getting more warmed up as a mixed martial artist and just getting better, and that separates me from the other people who are on the list of the greatest of all time.”