"Shaq is a specimen" - Flyweight MMA king Demetrious Johnson details how he could beat Shaquille O'Neal in a fight

Demetrious Johnson (left) Shaquille O
Demetrious Johnson (left) Shaquille O'Neal (right) [Photos via: ONE Championship]

Combat sports fans like to debate crossover bouts with other pro sports athletes and reigning ONE flyweight MMA world champion Demetrious Johnson was asked that very same question recently.

In an interview with DAZN MMA, 'Mighty Mouse' was asked whether he could defeat NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal in combat sports.

Ever the man to indulge in such hypothetical conversations, Johnson said this:

"The thing is, is that Shaq is a specimen, right? He's big, he's strong. And I've competed against guys who were 250lbs. Could I beat Shaq in like a hand-to-hand combat [situation]? That would be very hard, right?"

Johnson continued:

"I would have to rely back on my jiu-jitsu and grappling to take him down, pass his guard, and look to submit him. Would it be hard? Absolutely. I believe in myself. I believe in my skill set and yeah, I think I could take Shaq."

Though many might think it is impossible, the AMC Pankration / Evolve MMA fighter with a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu did defeat 6-foot-3, 248-pound Michael Sante Medina at the 2024 IBJJF Pan Championship last month.

However, taking on the 7-foot-1, 325-pound four-time NBA Champion might be a whole different thing altogether.

Demetrious Johnson looks back at his IBJJF experience

For an energetic competitor like Johnson, staying active outside of the Circle is of utmost importance and it is something that he has grown to love despite being exhausted at the end.

Johnson made an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani and mentioned that competing in many matches in one day, like in the 2024 IBJJF Pan Championship, felt fulfilling to him as a lifelong martial artist.

Under ONE Championship, the American legend has a record of 6-1, which features the special rules bout that he had with flyweight Muay Thai world titlist Rodtang Jitmuangnon in 2022.

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