A pair of tournaments are being lined up in ONE Championship, which will put the spotlight on recent acquisitions Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson.
ONE Championship hosted its Heart of the Lion press conference on Wednesday, with the newest members of the ONE family, Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson on hand. While neither man is taking part in the card, they will be taking part in some historic ONE Championship matches moving forward. Those will be part of tournaments ONE has now announced for its flyweight and lightweight divisions.
“It was in Asia that I began, I made a name for myself at a lightweight grand prix. Everything has come full circle,” Alvarez said before introducing himself in Japanese. “I can’t say how excited I am to be here with the ONE family. True martial artists. Integrity, honor, discipline. Putting them things first. Where I’ve been, we’ve sort of lost our way, and it’s good to be back.”
“I feel like I found my way again with the ONE family,” Alvarez added. “I can respect my opponents, I can bow, and I can go in and fight like a man. My lifelong journey of martial arts I know will be truly appreciated here.”
“I look forward to my suffering, I look forward to my training, and I look forward to fighting for the fans here,” he finished.
Demetrious Johnson marveled at how highly ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong spoke of his athletes, then addressed his move to the Asian promotion.
“I spent seven years in North American market fighting the best in the world over in North America, and I have never traveled to Asia to fight the best in Asia,” Johnson said. “And now I think it’s the perfect time to do it.”
“ONE Championship is bringing together two of my greatest passions, mixed martial arts, and gaming. Incredible. Incredible,” the pound-for-pound great exclaimed. “So when I had the opportunity to become a ONE athlete, I could not pass on the opportunity.”
“Now that they’ve just announced that they’re doing a world grand prix for the flyweight division, it’s always been a dream of mine to actually compete in Asia in a world grand prix flyweight division,” he added, promising to train his butt off with the end goal of becoming a champion.
Sityodtong later confirmed that each grand prix would feature eight men. However, whether the current champions would be involved in the tournaments from the outset remains to be seen.
“It’s going to be largely dependent on what happens on November 23 in Manila,” ONE’s CEO said. The lightweight title will be on the line that night. “The idea originally was to create a grand prix without the world champions, and the winner of the grand prix would then face the world champion. But there’s a lot of moving parts in it, so it’s very possible that our world champion will be slotted in one of those eight, on both flyweight and lightweight divisions.”
“So let’s see how things shake out on November 23 in Manila. But nevertheless,” Sityodtong concluded, “this is our first grand prix in history, and we have two of them, and I think our fans are going to go crazy for this.”
Also announced by ONE Championship was its move into the ESports Arena.