Newly-crowned ONE Flyweight World champion Demetrious Johnson’s name is already included in the conversation for the greatest martial artist of all time.
His sensational victory against Adriano Moraes at ONE on Prime Video 1 further solidifies his legendary status.
‘Mighty Mouse’ overcame perhaps the biggest obstacle of his illustrious MMA career so far, as he avenged that bitter defeat over the Brazilian in their highly-anticipated rematch. That stinging loss at ONE on TNT 1 last year marked the first time Demetrious Johnson got finished in 36 professional fights.
As some pundits began writing him off, Johnson silenced them all by trading a knee for a knee. The 36-year-old American clocked Moraes in round four with a straight right hand that had the former champion stumbling in retreat.
With Moraes’ back against the Circle wall, Johnson came flying in with a picture-perfect knee straight to his jaw that ended his night for good.
Here’s Johnson’s latest entry to his iconic highlight reel:
In his post-fight interview, Demetrious Johnson addressed the GOAT talks. The ever-so-humble champion had this to say:
“That's up to the public, man. As I said, I think when it comes down to one of the best flyweights to ever do it, that’s what I put myself into. I don't think there's anybody else out there who's been able to adjust [like I do].”
What separates Johnson from other champions is his ability to adapt mid-fight. It seemed like Moraes was once again controlling the match in the first 10 minutes before Johnson figured him out and turned the tide in rounds three and four.
“I think what people need to understand is, that when people give me that title, it's because I'm able to make adjustments to fight any type of style. Like against Adriano, he has a range advantage. He's a bigger guy. And I was able to overcome that by controlling the distance. Me, being 5'3, and him being 5'9. So that's where I think the greatest of all time comes from, and me being in the flyweight to be able to do that, I think it just adds to my legacy.”
Demetrious Johnson’s legacy is intact
Earlier in his career outside of ONE, Demetrious Johnson was only considered one of the best fighters in the lighter weight divisions. Now, no one can deny his place among the greatest martial artists ever, regardless of weight class.
‘Mighty Mouse’ proved that he is still in the prime of his career and has a lot of greatness left to show.
That claim will only get stronger if he wins his inevitable trilogy with Adriano Moraes.
Meanwhile, former flyweight world champion Kairat Akhmetov is also waiting in the wings, while a superfight with ONE bantamweight world champion and fellow UFC veteran John Lineker is another possibility. If Johnson passes the tests ahead of him, he will further strengthen his case as arguably the greatest to ever do it.