Johnson all-in to take on the challenge that is Moraes

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

A CLASH long time coming, mixed martial arts legend Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson said he is ready and cannot wait to seize the ONE Championship world flyweight title from reigning champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes.

Mr. Johnson (30-3-1) is to challenge Brazilian Moraes (18-3) in the headlining fight for “ONE on TNT I” in Singapore on Thursday, which will be broadcast on prime time in the United States.

The event is the first of a four-part weekly offering until April 29 from ONE that will have the promotion’s preliminary card digitally streamed exclusively on the Bleacher Report App and B/R Live followed by three main card fights televised exclusively on TNT.

The Moraes-Johnson fight is one of the main card fights for the event, which include the battle between lightweights Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez of the United States and Iuri Lapicus of Moldova and the non-title bout between ONE flyweight muay thai world champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon and Jacob Smith of the United Kingdom.

Speaking at the virtual media day for the event on Tuesday, American Johnson, a former champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), said he is excited to finally get the chance to face reigning champion Moraes.

Long considered a contender in the division since joining ONE in 2018 and solidified it further after he won the promotion’s flyweight grand prix over Filipino Danny Kingad in 2019, Mr. Johnson said it is now about getting the job done and winning the belt.

But he recognizes that champion Moraes is as solid a challenge as they come, never mind if the ONE champion is considered an underdog in the contest.

“Taking on an athlete like Adriano Moraes is not easy. He’s a challenge. He’s up there [among the tough fighters in MMA],” said Mr. Johnson, who has gone 3-0 in ONE Championship.

“He’s long for the weight class. He has a reach advantage. So the challenge is how I can cross the distance without running into trouble, getting in there and imposing my will,” he added.

While the fight was rescheduled several times previously for varying reasons, Mr. Johnson said it did not entirely work against their team.

“We trained as much as we could [despite the limitations with the pandemic]. It helped in a way that we know he (Moraes) is the one I will fight and we got to prepare for him,” he said.

“ONE on TNT I” will be shown live in the country on ONE Sports and One Sports+ with an encore telecast on April 11, 12 a.m. on TV5.

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