The “sell, sell, sell” approach of other MMA promotions does not apply to ONE Championship, explained Demetrious Johnson, a.k.a. Mighty Mouse, in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas, NV — Demetrious Johnson’s arrival in ONE Championship was a shock, to say the least. Maybe it shouldn’t have been, however. ‘Mighty Mouse’ has a teammate, Bibiano Fernandes, who has long been one of ONE’s most decorated champions. His coach, Matt Hume, has been with the promotion since the beginning.
Perhaps the writing was on the wall, and we just didn’t see it. Johnson was clearly unhappy toward the end of his UFC run. He’s been beaming of late, as was the case this week in Las Vegas, where ONE brought out some of its newest stars.
Speaking of that media run, ‘Mighty Mouse’ explained the difference between media in the past and media for ONE to reporters including Cageside Press. “In the past when I was doing media for a different market, you’re trying to sell something, you’re trying to sell Pay-per-View,” he explained.
“Right now, the biggest thing Chatri [Sityodtong, ONE Championship Chairman and CEO] always tells all his athletes is that, just be authentic. And that’s what I’m being. I’m always happy, I love to compete, I love to go out there and give it my best and display my mixed martial arts skills to the world. I’m happy that I’m able to just focus on that.”
And, with a laugh, Johnson added “now I don’t mind talking to the media.”
Speaking of the writing being on the wall, Johnson had mentioned prior to his final UFC fight that he was interested in traveling the world, collecting belts. A little bit of foreshadowing, perhaps. However, Mighty Mouse explained that “I was going into that fight thinking I was going to win that fight. Obviously I have an obligation as a champion to keep defending that belt, which I’d done for the past six years.”
On the other hand, “obviously things happen for a reason. I’m happy where I’m at, I’m happy how things went, the way it did. I’m ecstatic.”
Perhaps now, fighting in Asia which holds a more open mind when it comes to smaller weight classes, he won’t struggle to connect with an audience.
“You look at the Japanese culture of mixed martial arts, Shooto, Bushido, a lot of the stars over there, like Kid Yamamoto, those guys were famous over in Japan,” he said of the notion. “And they were smaller guys. Obviously you’ve got the big guys, who are superstars, like Bob Sapp who’s a beast over there, they just look at him like ‘oh my god, he’s huge,’ but they love the smaller guys.”
Demetrious Johnson makes his ONE Championship debut at A New Era on March 31, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.