Many feel that ONE flyweight champion Adriano Moraes will come in as a heavy underdog against Demetrious Johnson, regardless whether Moraes ruled the division for the longest time.
That does not bother him, however, as Moraes clashes with Johnson in the main event of “ONE on TNT I,” which airs on April 8, in Manila and simultaneously live on US prime-time television.
Moraes has been looking forward to this day since Johnson joined The Home Of Martial Arts.
“DJ is famous, but I don’t care about that. I just try to focus on me, focus on my path, and do what I need to do to go there and have my hand raised,” said Moraes.
“I was cheering for him to win the World Grand Prix [so I could] fight against him. You know his story — he was one of the best champions in one of the most famous organizations in the world.
“Of course, people are going to put me as the underdog, but I don’t care. Everyone has their own story, and I just keep creating mine.”
To create the ideal finish to the story that he has long worked on, Moraes will have to do what no man in ONE has done — beat Johnson.
While it hasn’t been a walk in the park for Johnson either, he has remained dominant nonetheless, displaying his slick grappling expertise in all of his matches in the organization so far.
Still, the 32-year-old Brazilian believes he can handle Johnson.
“For me, this is the best fight in the flyweight division in the world today,” Moraes said.
“If you could have one flyweight in the world to fight against the legend — who can beat DJ in a good way — it’s me. I believe that.”
When asked what he’ll bring to the table in their world title match, Moraes said there was nothing special.
“I don’t think I’m the best in the world, but I think I’m different,” he said.
“I do the transitions really [well], and I’m faster too. I always try to do everything correctly. I train hard every single day I go to the gym.”
A win over Johnson would do wonders for his career, but Moraes said he believed he will also be representing the old guard of the organization, as he tangles against who many believe is the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
“If I beat DJ, it is going to be really good for my career, for my team, and for my family. I think I’m ready for it,” he said.
FROM THE ARCHIVES