Demetrious Mighty Mouse Johnson was just at the front of a historic development for MMA – he was traded to ONE in order for Ben Askren to go the UFC.
“I was always never the biggest fan of the way people went about promoting their fights over in North America,” Johnson said on a conference call Sunday night. “I saw it as a way some athletes used it as a way of bullying, as a way of trying to gain followers. When an athlete says on Twitter ‘why haven’t you signed the contract yet’ to another athlete, for me I see that as a form of bullying. All that’s going to do is stir people to go to that person’s Twitter or social media and say, ‘You’re scared, you don’t want this, you’re chicken.’ When I see professional athletes doing that, that are trying to embody the spirit of a martial artist, it just puts a bad taste in my mouth.
“I’m very excited that I don’t have to go through that whole thing and be OK with myself as a true martial artist. And I felt I’ve always done that in my time here in North America,” Johnson added. “And now that everybody does that, it’s in everybody’s DNA in Asia. It’s always about respect and promoting the fight the correct way as a true martial artist: We’re going to go in there and test our skills against each other. I’m very much looking forward to that way of promoting fights than it is in North America. That was something that I just didn’t fit in.”
Both Demetrious Johnson and Chatri Sityodtong open to DJ competing in other disciplines at #ONEChampionship including Muay thai, submission grappling etc
— Andrew Whitelaw (@ASTJWhitelaw) October 29, 2018
The feeling is mutual, according to One Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong, who envisions “Mighty Mouse” eventually becoming a superstar in Asia due to his fighting talent.
“DJ embodies true martial arts,” Sityodtong said. “Asia’s been the home of martial arts for 5,000 years and it’s basically been a way of life for Asians, and honor, the respect, the humility, the integrity, the discipline, the compassion that you earn through thousands of hours of training. It’s how we live our lives out here in Asia and DJ not only is the best pound-for-pound king to ever do it, but I think he embodies everything authentic and everything beautiful about martial arts and so I think he’s going to transcend being just a martial arts star.
“I think if you look at who’s transcended just being a martial arts star, whether it’s Bruce Lee, Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, there’s countless people who have transcended martial arts and became true global superstars. I think DJ has the potential.”
Mighty Mouse was recently promoted to brown belt – on the pic above featured with him is Bibiano Fernandes, a ONE FC fighter.
Interestingly Johnson will likely be competing at bantamweight at ONE – pitting him against the very man who was part of his brown belt promotion.
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Honored @onechampionship ・・・ The pound-for-pound King has ARRIVED. 👊: @mightymouse125 #WeAreONE #MartialArts ___________________________________________________ #ONEChampionship #WorldChampion #Champion #WarriorSpirit #Knockout #KO #Submission #MuayThai #ThaiBoxing #Kickboxing #Wrestling #Boxing #BJJ #BrazilianJiuJitsu #JiuJitsu #Grappling #Karate #MMA #MixedMartialArts #Fight #Fitness #Training #Sports #Entertainment #BeastMode #Asia #Motivation
“One Championship, they are about bringing up heroes,” Johnson said. “And the first time I watched ‘The Burmese Python’ fight in the last event in Yangon, I could see how the crowd would react to him when he stepped into the cage to fight and after he won and how the whole crowd was saying his name. I can see that his countrymen, his people really see him as a hero, not as an athlete who’s going to go to a bar after this and beat somebody in the face, they honestly are the home of martial arts and it’s not just mixed martial arts.
“It’s kickboxing, boxing, muay Thai, submission grappling, and for me that just intrigued me about it. They’re focused on promoting true martial artists, humble, discipline, integrity, and humility, and that’s all that I stand for, so absolutely I am 100 percent on board with that.”
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