Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson established his reputation as the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter on the planet by becoming a 12-time Flyweight World Champion in North America, and now, he has a chance to solidify his GOAT status in Singapore.
The American icon is scheduled to challenge ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes for the gold in the main event of ONE Fight Night 1 on August 27. It’s a title that has eluded the 36-year-old superstar, but should he win the belt at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, then it would be arguably his greatest accomplishment to date.
Throughout much of Johnson’s 15-year MMA run, he has been unstoppable. But in April 2021, at ONE Championship’s closed-door event ONE on TNT I, Moraes shockingly finished the American for the first time in his career. Johnson didn’t dwell on the knockout loss, however. Instead, he remained positive, praised Moraes, and quietly sharpened his skills away from the spotlight.
Now that the rematch is upon us, here are three reasons why many people still consider “Mighty Mouse” the GOAT inside and outside of the Circle.
Love Thy Enemy
Johnson, who owns a 30-4-1 professional record, doesn’t have an ego, and he isn’t the type of person to hold grudges. Truthfully, it isn’t in his nature. The American proved that when he recently went to Phoenix, Arizona, for two weeks to train with former two-division UFC World Champion Henry Cejudo, a man whom he has plenty of history with.
“Mighty Mouse” beat Cejudo via first-round TKO when the two initially fought in April 2016, but two years later, the Mexican-American won the rematch with a controversial split decision. Although there was controversy, that didn’t stop Johnson from seeking out his former rival to help him prepare for the biggest fight of his career. The American icon knew his famous compatriot could push him, strengthen his weaknesses, and even fine-tune his wrestling.
Johnson proved he is willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve greatness, and he has since formed a bond with his old foe. And as for Cejudo, he considers “Mighty Mouse” the GOAT, and even said, “I could see why he took my ass out the first time [we fought].”
Always A Student, Undying Thirst To Evolve
Johnson may be considered the GOAT, but he is truly a student of the game. He reached the top of the MMA world by defeating Joseph Benavidez for the inaugural UFC Flyweight World Title in September 2012, but he remained at the mountaintop for so long because of his willingness to learn and desire to evolve.
Even as he is preparing to challenge Moraes for the ONE Flyweight World Title in Singapore on August 26, “Mighty Mouse” is still learning and finds himself in the role of a student. Aside from training with Cejudo, Johnson has started sharpening his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills at GRPL Club with Professor Yan McCane. Thus far, his grappling conditioning has heightened and he picked up some valuable techniques, which will be useful against a BJJ black belt like Moraes.
“I’m always a person who searches for knowledge – whether that knowledge is going to make me a better athlete, or whether that knowledge is actually going to be able to be used in the fight itself,” Johnson said. “So I went and signed up at Professor Yan McCane’s place, GRPL Club, and I’m there working toward my black belt, and I’m just soaking up knowledge.”
Consistency Is Key
MMA is one of the few sports where even the best fighters have difficulty winning time and time again. That is especially true when those fighters are constantly competing against elite opposition.
Johnson, however, has been doing that for most of his career. In fact, to this day, he still holds the UFC record for having the most consecutive World Title defenses (11 for those keeping score). The American further displayed that when he joined ONE Championship, as he beat three top opponents to become the 2019 ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion. For “Mighty Mouse,” the key to that mind-boggling success is consistency. That means always putting in the work, regardless of how exhausted he may be.
“I’m just a humble, respectful, disciplined guy. It’s how I am generally. I’m not a big talker. I like to just train, show up, do my thing, and let my performance speak for itself,” he said. “I just go and be respectful, give it my best, and go home. It’s been that way my whole career, and it’s never going to change.”