Former mixed martial arts fighter Chael Sonnen has delivered a harrowing warning towards Adriano Moraes ahead of his rematch against Demetrious Johnson.
Moraes will defend his ONE flyweight world title against the American icon in the main event of ONE on Prime Video 1: Moraes vs. Johnson II on August 26. The event will be broadcast at US primetime from the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Talking on his YouTube channel, Sonnen said that the person Moraes knocked out in April 2021 wasn’t Johnson at his best.
The outspoken American pointed out that Johnson was just starting to get his grips with ONE Championship when he lost to Moraes in his first world title bid with the organization.
Johnson, Sonnen said, could take the world title away if Moraes fights the same way in their previous encounter.
“Moraes has found himself the right contender. If Moraes can get it done twice, pump book or crook we will close the book. But as this fight approaches and you want to have whatever recollections you have of their first contest, I've got to remind you and I will maintain until that bell rings that was not Demetrius Johnson.”
Johnson, considered one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, had never been knocked out or submitted in his career before meeting Moraes. His loss to the Brazilian marked the first time that he was finished in a fight and it happened in one of the most shocking of ways.
Moraes landed a thunderous knee strike to Johnson’s head in the second round of their ONE on TNT I main event last year, a maneuver that has been deemed equally iconic and controversial.
Knees to a downed opponent are new to North American audiences, but ONE Championship uses the Global Martial Arts Rule Set that allows fighters maximum range in striking, and that includes this move.
Still, Sonnen believes that whatever Moraes did to Johnson in 2021 won’t be flying in their rematch.
“He needs to understand this is a different guy. The guy that I read about, the guy in the video games, the guy with all the records is not who got in the ring with me. I beat him and my dream came true. I'm going to need to be better.”
Watch Chael Sonnen's video below:
Moraes has to realize it’s a different Johnson come fight night, says Chael Sonnen
If his point couldn’t be stressed enough, Chael Sonnen practically told Moraes that he will be in the hardest fight of his life when he faces Johnson in the rematch.
Sonnen said that Moraes would have to improve on all aspects If he expects to beat Johnson for the second time around.
In the same YouTube video, Chael Sonnen said:
“This is a really interesting match but to make believe that you're going to re-see something that you've seen before I'm here to remind you that's not how it works.”
“I'm going to need to have an expectation that I'm going to hurt more not only physically because of things he's going to do to me, my lungs, my insides. I'm going to burn more calories, my heart rate is going to be higher. I am not just going to get to that position where it turned out to be dominant. Other things are going to happen and if he can understand that then the mental side can be captured.”