When ONE Championship eventually resumes staging live events in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, martial arts fans can look forward to a host of potentially exciting matchups.
One such bout on the horizon is a long-awaited showdown between reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes and ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
The two top flyweight talents have been on a collision course since Johnson made his ONE Championship debut in early 2019. After “Mighty Mouse” emerged the overall winner in last year’s highly-acclaimed ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix, his meeting with Moraes was essentially confirmed.
Johnson is expected to meet Moraes for the world title once the whole Covid-19 situation blows over.
Team Lakay rising star Danny “The King” Kingad, who has experienced facing both Moraes and Johnson in the Circle, understands the intricate details this blockbuster matchup entails.
“Adriano [Moraes] is so dangerous with his jiu-jitsu. You can’t relax on the mat even for a second. But he isn’t particularly strong in the striking department, and his wrestling is just okay,” Kingad said.
Kingad succumbed to Moraes in 2017 via first-round submission in his first shot at the ONE World Title. “The King” brought an unblemished seven-win slate into the bout, but his torch was ceremoniously snuffed in the first loss of his professional career.
And then last October, Kingad fell by unanimous decision care of a dominant performance from Johnson in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Championship Finals at ONE: CENTURY.
“DJ (Demetrious Johnson), on the other hand, is a fighter who has very little weakness, if any. He’s strong in both striking and in grappling, and he’s always constantly aware of scoring in every minute of a fight. He knows what he needs to do to win, and he’s on top of everything,” he added.
Kingad believes that although the bout should be a close one, the American Johnson should have more than enough in his toolbox to put together a convincing win on the scorecards.
“I think it’s going to be a great fight. Obviously, it’s a tough matchup for both. Can Adriano handle DJ’s all-around greatness? If it does go to the ground, how will DJ’s jiu-jitsu hold up against Adriano’s?” said Kingad.
“If it comes to a decision, which I think it will, I do have to go with DJ on this one. I just think he’s better in all aspects of martial arts. It’s not going to be an easy fight for either guy, but I think DJ takes it.”
When Johnson finally meets Moraes in the Circle, Kingad will surely be watching intently. The Filipino stalwart is currently the second-ranked flyweight, sitting just beneath Johnson in the official ONE Championship athlete rankings. So a potential rematch with either Johnson or Moraes is most likely in the cards for the young star.
Kingad doesn’t mind taking on either of the two and will not say no to potentially facing the winner of the much-anticipated showdown.
“I would love to rematch either of them, or fight the winner,” said Kingad.
“All I want to do is to face the best, and these two guys are the best in the division. It would be an honor. Right now, I just have to continue training hard and winning, and I believe in my heart I’ll get another shot at the world title.”
Like his teammates at Team Lakay and the majority of professional athletes around the world, Kingad is at home and indoors in lockdown to help stave off the progression of the Covid-19 pandemic through social distancing.
Athletes have been forced to become creative with their workouts, as the use of gym facilities is still prohibited under the Philippines’ nationwide community quarantine. But despite the circumstance, Kingad said he’s laser-focused on continuing to improve his skills and make sure he’s ready when it’s time to go again.
“I’m taking things day by day. Obviously, it’s a tough situation for everyone. I’m making the best of it, training at home, staying conditioned as best as I can,” said Kingad.
“I want to be ready when it’s time to step back into the Circle.”Published 05 Jun 2020, 13:07 IST