Demetrious Johnson Plans to Poll Faber, GSP, Khabib Before Making Retirement Decision

Broomfield, CO — Following ONE Fight Night 10, where he both defended his ONE Championship flyweight title and closed out his trilogy with Adriano Moraes, Demetrious Johnson wasn’t ready to announce his retirement.

After winning a five-round decision against the Brazilian, Johnson surveyed the crowd as to whether he should keep fighting — and the answer was a thunderous yes.

“Mighty Mouse” admitted, however, that he would need to discuss the matter with his family, who were in attendance at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado on Friday night for ONE Championship’s U.S. debut.

Speaking to Cageside Press and other media outlets backstage following the event, Johnson opened up about a potential future opponent in Kairat Akhmetov, and shed light onto where the retirement talk had come from.

“I think Kairat Akhmetov is on a six-fight win streak, I love when people are on win streaks. I love taking it away from them,” Johnson said of the former ONE flyweight champ, who entered the ONE circle for a face-off to close out ONE Fight Night 10.

“Kairat’s an amazing athlete, very very strong. I saw him and Reece McLaren fight in the grand prix back in 2019 I believe. He’s a good wrestler. I think when I fight him, I’m excited for a new challenge because he brings something different to the table. With Adriano, he was longer. Kairat’s a little bigger than me, he’s probably bigger than me as an athlete, I weight in at 133 and it was super-easy to make that weight. But I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

That brought about a comment from ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, who jokingly interjected “wow, did he just say he’s not going to retire?”

Sityodtong’s quick wit got a laugh out of everyone, including Johnson. But it’s clear the man considered by many the Greatest of All Time (and certainly the flyweight GOAT) has some soul searching to do when it comes to continuing his fighting career.

“We’ll see, you know. I’m still young. Talking to my peers, talking to Urijah Faber, I’m going to reach out to GSP [Georges St-Pierre], I’m going to reach out to Khabib Nurmagomedov, I’m going to talk to these guys, like you know, ‘why did you guys stop?’ Those guys could have kept on fighting,” Johnson stated. “There comes a point in time — I’m 36 years old. Do I just keep on doing this, giving other athletes opportunities to beat me and add to their legacy or whatever?”

Johnson admits that a lot of his feelings about retirement stem from week four or five of his training camp, the most gruelling stretch of fight prep. He remembers having nightmares about opponents in the past, but in this camp, the nightmare wasn’t about Adriano Moraes — it was about what he’ll do after fighting. “That’s where all these feelings harbor from,” said Johnson, who plans to “take a step back as an athlete and look at what I’m going to do after fighting.”

If Saturday was the end of Demetrious Johnson’s fighting career, he got to go out at home in the U.S., headlining ONE Championship’s debut on U.S. soil. Interest in the event was high, and for once, pretty much everything went according to plan — unlike, for example, the promotion’s troubled ONE on TNT series a few years back.

Despite Johnson topping the Colorado card, however, there was no pressure on the champ’s part to put on a show.

“Not at all. I believe in my skillset, I believe in my brand, and I’ve always believed in myself,” Johnson said on that front. “They pay me to fight, and every single time I go out there, I fight. I give it my all. I’m always looking for the finish. I didn’t get it, but I showed a lot of good clinch work trying to finish him, using the shoulder shrug. Because he’s a lot taller.”

“I knew I was going to go out there and put on a great fight, and I think Rodtang killed it too, so on and so forth. I think all the athletes tonight did a great job.”

Watch the full ONE Fight Night 10 post-fight press conference with Demetrious Johnson, plus Muay Thai champ Rodtang, above.