The former divisional king and current #2 contender has won five straight contests against elite rivals, and he feels ready to battle for the gold once again.
Akhmetov said to Johnson:
“Congratulations on a great fight and [winning the] championship belt, DJ. Nothing but respect, you are a legend of this sport. But you know I’m next in line to fight you.
“After five victories in five fights, I am the top contender for the belt. I’m the only [contender] you haven’t met yet. Let’s have this fight when you’re ready, champ.”
It’s clear that Akhmetov holds Johnson in high regard.
“Mighty Mouse” dominated the flyweight division in North America for many years – breaking records for his incredible World Title reign – before he moved to Asia and won both the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix and the World Championship gold.
But beyond those skills, Akhmetov also appreciates the way Johnson handles himself outside of the battle arena, and he’d be honored to square off with his role model.
“I have always looked up to Johnson. When I first started fighting in this sport, I was already watching him. When ‘Mighty Mouse’ signed a contract with ONE, I immediately let it be known that I could meet him with dignity in the ring. Many years have passed, and I think our time has come.
“I admire him as a person, as an athlete, and as a family man. I look up to him. My dream is to meet Johnson in the ring.”
Kairat Akhmetov Believes He Can Defeat The MMA GOAT
Kairat Akhmetov has a massive amount of reverence for Demetrious Johnson, but he still feels confident about his chances in a head-to-head matchup.
“The Kazakh’s” dominant wrestling and improved striking have seen him overcome the likes of #1 flyweight contender Adriano Moraes, #4-ranked Danny Kingad, and #5-ranked Reece McLaren in previous encounters, and he thinks that arsenal would give the newly crowned king a tough test.
“Johnson’s title won’t play a big role. I’m not made of dough either. [I’m] a former ONE World Champion, now I have a winning streak of five fights and I’m second in the rankings.”
“I have a chance. This is MMA where one punch can decide the outcome of a fight. I believe in myself and in my victory. This is my dream fight, and I don’t want to miss the chance to make myself known to the whole world.”
For now, Akhmetov has to wait and see what Johnson and ONE Championship matchmakers decide for his next move, but he’s hoping to feature in those plans.
“You know, there is a saying: Train until your idol becomes your rival. I hope he accepts my challenge. I only treat him with respect.”