Demetrious Johnson is taking nothing for granted ahead of the first special rules super-fight in ONE Championship history.
Even though they will alternate from all-striking to mixed martial arts across four three-minute rounds at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, “Mighty Mouse” expects to be under threat and work hard for every second of the match – even when the rules are in his favor.
“Rodtang is with a great camp. I know he’s really strong. I know he’s going to have a great takedown defense. I know he’s going to hit like a horse. He’s the best Muay Thai fighter in the world, now [training] in mixed martial arts, so nothing will surprise me. We’re going to go out there, fight, test his stand up, test his grappling, test everything, and just compete.
“If I make it out of the first then I make it out of the first. If he makes it out of the second then he makes it out on the second. We’ll keep on fighting until they say we can’t fight anymore, and we’ll go from there.”
Rodtang is known as “The Iron Man” for his granite chin – which gives him the confidence to come forward against any opponent – and Johnson does not have any illusions about being the one to crack it.
In fact, the 12-time MMA World Champion knows that even trying to implement that game plan could be like pressing a self-destruct button, and for an athlete who’s built his career on outsmarting rivals, that’s not on his agenda.
The American said:
“No, [I don’t see a way to KO him early]. Rodtang has been hit with everything. ‘Mini T’ [Danial Williams] has clipped him. Jonathan Haggerty has clipped him. Everybody he fights, he has been clipped. I’ve never been the athlete to go into a fight banking on myself to knock somebody out or submit somebody. I will go in there and I think to myself, ‘This is going to be a long 12-minute fight.’
“It’s like if Bruce Lee was fighting Rodtang, do you think he’d stay right in front of him the whole time and let him take all the shots? Absolutely not. So do I plan on standing toe-to-toe with Rodtang? Absolutely not. I’m going to look to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.”
Will 3 Minutes Be Enough For Demetrious Johnson To Submit Rodtang?
For Demetrious Johnson, the most obvious edge will come in rounds two and four when he gets to employ his full mixed martial arts arsenal on Muay Thai megastar Rodtang Jitmuangnon.
But while many pundits believe “Mighty Mouse” will submit the Thai if their fight reaches that stage, he’s not as confident given the switch from regular five-minute rounds in MMA.
“Three minutes is nothing. I was sparring the other day and three minutes went by and I was like, ‘That was three minutes?’ And the other guy goes, ‘Yeah, it’s too quick.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I couldn’t get anything done!’
“[The MMA rounds] allow me to start doing more things, but only for three minutes, and within those, the fight still starts on the feet. So let’s say I get the fight down with two minutes left. I have to start going over submissions, beat him up, try to ground and pound him. Then we go back to Muay Thai. It’s an extremely a hard fight when I sit down and break it down technically.”
Still, Johnson did not reach the top and receive his “MMA GOAT” status for nothing. Instead, he earned it by being adaptable, smart, and finding a way.
The American hopes those qualities will propel him to victory against “The Iron Man” – though he’s envisioning a different type of superhero battle.
“Mighty Mouse” added:
“When I sit down and think about this fight, for the first and third round it’s basically like Batman fighting Superman, and he knows he has a kryptonite ring. In the second and fourth round, he gets to use it, but he’s only got three minutes!
“I’ve got three minutes to put this guy away. So do I think he can take a flush knee to the face? Absolutely. Do I think he can hold his breath underwater if I cut off his blood supply to his brain? Probably not. But like I said, I plan on mixing it up and just going out there and fighting.”