Kairat Akhmetov believes that if you work hard enough, you’ll eventually be on par with the people you look up to. ‘The Kazakh’ is not shy to admit that he has always admired Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson’s Hall of Fame-worthy career.
The newly crowned ONE flyweight world champion, after all, helped put the lighter weight class on the map when he took the MMA world by storm during his days with the UFC.
Kairat Akhmetov, who is currently ranked No.2 in the ONE flyweight division, has now put himself in a position to challenge perhaps the greatest martial artist of all time.
The 34-year-old Kazakhstani fighter openly discussed his desire to test his skills against a world-class athlete of Johnson’s caliber.
Akmetov said in an interview with ONE Championship:
“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.”
“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.”
Although nothing is set in stone yet, a world title bout between Johnson and Akhmetov does make the most sense.
Some may argue that a trilogy fight between Johnson and Adriano Moraes should take top priority. Then again, it would be an absolute travesty if the former divisional king gets passed up once more.
Akhmetov has won his last five fights in a convincing manner, including victories over contenders Dae Hwan Kim, Danny Kingad, and Tatsumitsu Wada in his last three outings.
‘The Kazakh’ has clearly paid his dues.
Kairat Akhmetov matches up well with Demetrious Johnson
Kairat Akhmetov is not a flashy fighter by any means, but he always finds a way to get the job done. The Arlan MMA Pro team fighter leaned on his superior Greco-Roman wrestling skills earlier in his career.
Once ‘The Kazakh’ got a hold of his opponents on the ground, they were pretty much done for. A veteran of 28 professional fights, Akhmetov often breaks his foes with suffocating pressure and has 10 career wins by submission.
However, for some reason, he still doesn’t get the respect that he deserves. The former world champion further added:
“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.”
Kairat Akhmetov has also fine-tuned his striking, which seems like the only glaring weakness in his game in the past. If their paths do meet, Akhmetov is confident that he can stand toe-to-toe with Demetrious Johnson wherever the fight goes.