By Dan Paulo Errazo
Multiple-time martial arts world champion and widely considered the greatest to ever do it, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is looking forward to the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
The tournament-format competition features eight of ONE Championship’s top flyweights, Johnson included. It was announced in late 2018 by ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. Although exact specifics of the Grand Prix have yet to be announced, Johnson already expects the undertaking to be extremely taxing both physically and mentally.
Johnson held the UFC Lightweight Title for years after successfully defending it 11 times. No matter where his career finishes, he will be considered one of the greatest fighters of all time, and the most dominant in his division.
“Mighty Mouse” was recently invited to experience a live ONE Championship event for the first time back in November, when he flew from the continental United States all the way to Singapore to attend ONE: Heart of the Lion. He was also invited as a special guest at the 2018 Global Martial Arts Summit which took place on fight week.
“The team was awesome with so much energy,” says the AMC Pankration athlete.
“The production of the show was so cool. I loved the old-school ring entrances with the fireworks and the whole nine yards, Nora the ring announcer is fantastic, and the fans were great!”
Now that the Washington native has found a new home, he will be making his debut at ONE: A New Era to be held at the historic Ryogoku Kokugikan arena in Tokyo, Japan on March 31.
His first matchup will be against Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu, the promotion announced recently. Wakamatsu had a successful career in Pancrase and made his ONE Championship debut last September, falling to Danny Kingad via unanimous decision.
The reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion is Team Lakay’s Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio and many fans expected Johnson to jump straight to a title shot in his first outing for ONE.
Despite easily being the highest profile athlete on the ONE roster however, Johnson said he didn’t want his first match in the promotion to be a title shot right away. He wanted to work for it and the Flyweight World Grand Prix puts him in a great position to do just that.
“I’m excited for it – it’s going to be a fun time,” Johnson concluded.