Former UFC flyweight champion and winner of the ONE Championship flyweight grand prix, Demetrious ”Mighty Mouse” Johnson, spoke at virtual media day for ONE on TNT ahead of challenging Adriano Moraes for the ONE flyweight championship.
Despite holding the flyweight belt for over six years over the course of two title reigns in the promotion along with a five-inch height advantage, Moraes is an underdog against Mighty Mouse.
While Johnson will not underestimate Moraes in any capacity, he is particularly complimentary of Moraes’ ability in the grappling department.
“I think his greatest strength is his grappling. I think he’s very long for the division, very tall and he has those long legs,” said Johnson. “Phenomenal grappler. He likes to get on people’s backs, lock up the body triangle.”
Johnson referenced his fight against Tatsumitsu Wada in August 2019. Wada got Johnson’s back and maintained control in that position for roughly three minutes.
Mighty Mouse is cognizant of the fact that he must avoid similar circumstances with Moraes, a BJJ black belt.
“I didn’t really take any damage from Tatsumitsu Wada being on my back, but that’s three minutes of me that I could’ve been working trying to finish a fight,” Johnson said. “Passing guard. Throwing elbows. Anything. So that’s the biggest strength that I believe Adriano has.”
Johnson also spoke of Moraes’ approach to talk trash ahead of the fight.
Mighty Mouse is frequently recognized by many as one of if not the greatest MMA fighter of all-time. Some fighters, like John Dodson, took a similar route ahead of their fight, yet a significant amount of Johnson’s opponents were solely focused on how to beat him let alone attempt to get in his head.
“I haven’t really followed his career, so I don’t know how he approaches his fights. So this is I guess new to me,” Johnson said. “But I’ve had trash talk before in my fights, fighting John Dodson. I think John Dodson is the only one who really talked crap. But yeah, it’s just the way [Moraes] likes to take it if he wants it.”
Despite Moraes’ trash talk, Johnson holds Moraes in high regard when it comes to his talent compared to past opponents.
What does Demetrious Johnson have to prove to Dana White?
“He’s up there. He’s my next biggest fight, he’s my next challenge,” Johnson said.
Johnson also provided reasoning for why Moraes might not necessarily be a household name in MMA.
“He hasn’t done any work on the U.S. soil, right? I believe the only reason my name is big on the U.S. soil and in Asia as well is for what I’ve done on American soil and how I’ve gone about my career,” Johnson said. “I think that’s what kind of elevated my name, essentially.”
Perhaps Johnson’s most notable response during media day was when a journalist asked what it would mean to his legacy to show UFC president Dana White that he was still at the top of the heap with a victory over Moraes.
Mighty Mouse burst out laughing.
“It’s not important at all. I think the world knows where my skill set is,” Johnson said in between laughter. “I’m not worried about showing anything to Dana White.”
Regardless, Johnson will show the world what he has in store for Adriano Moraes at “ONE on TNT I” on Wednesday, April 7.
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