MMA: Demetrious Johnson rules out strawweight move, ponders kick-boxing bout

Nick Atkin, South China Morning Post

Posted at Apr 09 2021 12:05 AM

Demetrious Johnson is uncertain on his next move inside the ONE Championship Circle, but one thing’s for certain – it won’t be a move to strawweight.

“Mighty Mouse” suffered the first knockout loss of his career in a stunning second-round upset by flyweight champ Adriano Moraes in Thursday morning’s ONE on TNT 1 main event.

The Brazilian had a big height and reach advantage at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, as have most of Johnson’s opponents since he jumped ship from the UFC, whose flyweight division limit is 125 pounds compared to ONE’s 135 pounds.

“I can’t make strawweight,” 34-year-old American Johnson said, bluntly, at the post-event virtual media conference. “And if I could, I wouldn’t wanna go through it. I have no interest in drinking two gallons of water for two weeks to make 125 [pounds]. 

Johnson put together a legendary record run of 11 straight title defences at 125 pounds in the UFC, a streak which earned him divisional “GOAT” (greatest of all time) status and a place in the pound-for-pound conversation. 

“Yes, I’m at a disadvantage and with size difference, but I’m not worried about it,” he added. “I had a good talk with Eddie [Alvarez] out here, he said, ‘Dude, everything you did was perfect, you came up and got hit with the knee and it is what it is’.

“For me, I’m able to digest this a little more. I knew Adriano was gonna be tough. Yeah, it sucks, but I’m a very mature athlete. You can sit here and sulk. I watched the fight five times already. It’s not like, ‘God, what happened? I don’t know’. I know what happened. Now it’s just about going back home.

“I’ve lost before and won before, nothing ever changes. Relax with the kids and the wife, get back in the gym and get back on the horse, it’s no different. I’ve never been finished before. I didn’t think I’d be able to handle it this way, but it’s just the maturity of where I’m at. I know I’m putting my body on the line and competing.”

Johnson insisted he would take some time to make up his mind over a timetable for his return, and is even open to trying his hand in the ONE Super Series kick-boxing division.

“I’m not in a rush to compete again, this was a long camp,” he said. “Maybe the Fall, maybe Christmas. I’ll decide what I wanna do. I’ve got six fights left on my contract. So let’s make the best of it.

“I have options. I feel if I want to have a kick-boxing match I can do that. I can try my hand at it, maybe go out there and get the bricks blown off me. But it’s about trying and exploring – you get one career. I wanna make the most of it. It would be dope to be able to say I did it in ONE Championship, but I’ll go home and heal up.”

Johnson admitted however he would have to work his way back up the flyweight division if he wants another crack at Moraes.

“He finished me – if the fight was close, contested, where I had him in some problem or whatnot I could see a rematch,” he said. “But he finished me in a way I’ve never been in my professional career. He can go defend his belt more against some up-and-comers or whoever he wants to fight.”

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