Demetrious Johnson left the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2018, as one of the most decorated and dominant champions the promotion had ever witnessed. His stock in the company took a major hit off the back of his decision loss to Henry Cejudo, resulting in a ‘once off’ trade deal with ONE Championship, which seen former welterweight best Ben Askren swap promotion’s with the flyweight.
Setting the record for most consecutive successful championship defences with a staggering eleven separate victories, Johnson was regarded as the greatest mixed-martial artist not just on the planet at the time of his reign, but was firmly within the conversation as the best to ever to ever strap on a pair of gloves. We’re two fight’s deep into the ONE Championship stint of Demetrious Johnson, who has so far brushed both Yuya Wakamatsu and Tatsumistu Wada aside ahead of a Flyweight Grand-Prix final appearance against Danny Kingad this weekend at ONE: CENTURY: in Tokyo, Japan.
Before we delve into Johnson’s brief, yet successful stint with Chatri Sityodtong’s promotion, we must study his incredible run as the Octagon’s inaugural flyweight champion. In just five years, eleven failed to best the Kentucky native as he set records and toppled each and every challenger to his throne. Johnson claimed the championship against still perennial contender Joseph Benavidez in 2012, beginning one of the most dominant reigns in the history of the sport. Besting the likes of John Dodson, twice, Joseph Benavidez yet again, Kyoji Horiguchi, Wilson Reis, Ray Borg, and in the Olympic gold medalist’s first defeat, finished Henry Cejudo.
In just his second Octagon loss, Johnson suffered an extremely narrow split decision defeat to Henry ‘Triple C’ Cejudo. Over five rounds, Johnson out landed at a 60% success rate against Cejudo, and landed a takedown. In eleven attempts, The Arizona wrestler Cejudo managed to forced DJ to his back three times, to edge out Johnson on two of the three judge’s scorecards, in what proved the AMC Pankration best’s final Octagon appearance and a certain changing of the guard.
In his first walk for ONE Championship at ONE: A New Era: last December, Johnson managed to rally in the second round to pick up a tight guillotine of Yuya Wakamatsu, immediately cementing his status as a contender in the Singaporean promotion. Once more rallying in the Philippines against Tatsumitsu Wada, Johnson picked up a unanimous decision in a clash where he was forced to utilize his superior grappling. Against Danny Kingad, Demetrious Johnson is matched with a surging contender who has won his last six straight.
In terms of ability, Johnson is arguably one of the most well-rounded mixed-martial-artists we’ve ever seen. Impeccable footwork, dynamic striking, an amateur wrestling background and a taught joint submission game will keep ‘The King’ Kingad on his toes throughout as he attempts to stop DJ in his tracks, with both men eager to seal Grand-Prix supremacy in ONE Championship’s 100th event.