Pacio praises Johnson, Rodtang for putting on a show at ONE X

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 13 2022 11:41 PM

Demetrious Johnson striking it out with Rodtang Jitmuangnon. Handout photo
Demetrious Johnson striking it out with Rodtang Jitmuangnon. Handout photo

Joshua Pacio correctly predicted how the Muay Thai–MMA hybrid super-bout would end at ONE X. 
 
What the ONE Strawweight World Champion didn’t count on, though, was how entertaining the battle would be between Demetrious Johnson and Rodtang Jitmuangnon. 

“I sort of expected DJ to come away with the win, but that first round [of Muay Thai] was amazing,” the Team Lakay star said. 

“Rodtang ate a lot of shots. And I read one comment from DJ that he’s really got a chin. So he really made sure to finish it in the [MMA] second round to avoid the third round. It was a great match.” 

Pacio credited Johnson for making the fight more compelling, as “Mighty Mouse” could’ve just tried to survive the three-minute Muay Thai stanza by running around and avoiding the Bangkok juggernaut. 

Instead, the American icon got it on with Rodtang on the feet – connecting a few good ones and even absorbing solid shots – in an unforgettable first frame. 

For the Filipino dynamo, that was proof of Johnson’s greatness. 

“A lot of people expected DJ – including me – to just waste time and run around, but he actually came forward and traded strikes with him. That’s where DJ’s IQ comes into play,” Pacio said. 

“He used his movement, he used his footwork, he’d go in and out, he’d go in and sidestep. His MMA striking was on full display and he really avoided the traditional Muay Thai fight while doing his own thing.” 

The pride of Baguio City was equally impressed with Rodtang, who gamely engaged with the 12-time mixed martial arts world champion in the second stanza. 

“The Iron Man” was submitted before the three minutes were up. But he went on his guard, allowing “Mighty Mouse” to choke him unconscious instead of tapping out. 

For Pacio, if Rodtang wants to compete in more MMA events, he should look back at his ONE X stint as a master class. 

“I believe [Rodtang would] do well if he wants to explore MMA. He’s certainly learned a lot in that single round against DJ, and he won’t get that experience anywhere,” the ONE strawweight king said. 

“You can pick up a lot of things just by training and rolling with DJ, so what more if you’re up against him? I expect him to pick up a lot of things from that. That’s a great lesson for him.”