Former UFC flyweight champion and pound-for-pound great Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is no longer on the roster of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Now the former title holder has come forward to offer a few words concerning his recent departure from the promotion.
The UFC has reached a historic deal with fellow MMA promotion ONE Championship. In exchange for former ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren, the UFC has traded Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship.
Speaking in a media conference call, Demetrious Johnson has since come forward to offer his thoughts on why he wanted to make the change.
“At the end of the day, I felt that I’m pretty young in my career and I wanted to try something different. I’ve always wanted to travel the world and compete and actually grew up watching Asian mixed martial arts with Pride, mostly. To be able to have the opportunity to travel over to Asia in a whole new weight class, it’s something I couldn’t pass up.
“So obviously I had to leave, and First Round Management, with (Johnson’s manager) Malki (Kawa), after my last fight I was like, ‘You know what? You think this is possible?’ He goes, ‘Anything’s possible, man.” And so Malki was able to get it done and here we are now. I’m grateful that everything fell to the right place, now I’m a ONE athlete, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.”
“ONE Championship, they are about bringing up heroes. And the first time I watched ‘The Burmese Python’ fight in the last event in Yangon, I could see how the crowd would react to him when he stepped into the cage to fight and after he won and how the whole crowd was saying his name. I can see that his countrymen, his people really see him as a hero, not as an athlete who’s going to go to a bar after this and beat somebody in the face, they honestly are the home of martial arts and it’s not just mixed martial arts.
“It’s kickboxing, boxing, Muay Thai, submission grappling, and for me that just intrigued me about it. They’re focused on promoting true martial artists, humble, discipline, integrity, and humility, and that’s all that I stand for, so absolutely I am 100 percent on board with that.”