Demetrious Johnson on trade from UFC to ONE: ‘I had to leave’

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Demetrious Johnson (photo credit Ron Chenoy © USA Today Sports)

The trade sending Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship in exchange for Ben Askren is being lauded as a winning trade for all sides. Johnson, the former longtime UFC flyweight champion, agrees that it is a good move and is looking forward to the next chapter in his career. He also hinted that he won’t be fighting at flyweight once he gets to ONE.

“I’m pretty young in my career and I wanted to try something different,” Johnson told reporters in a conference call (via MMA Fighting). “I’ve always wanted to travel the world and compete and actually grew up watching Asian mixed martial arts with Pride, mostly. To be able to have the opportunity to travel over to Asia in a whole new weight class, it’s something I couldn’t pass up.”

If Johnson were to fight at bantamweight rather than flyweight for ONE, that would put him on a collision course with current ONE Bantamweight Champion Bibiano Fernandes. Fernandes has been on a tear in ONE, winning all nine of his fights with the promotion, and has not lost a bout since 2010. Regardless of who or at what weight Johnson ends up fighting, he knows the trade needed to happen.

“I had to leave, and First Round Management, with Malki (Kawa), after my last fight I was like, ‘You know what? You think this is possible?’ He goes, ‘Anything’s possible, man.’ And so Malki was able to get it done and here we are now. I’m grateful that everything fell to the right place, now I’m a ONE athlete, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.”


With Johnson now part of ONE Championship along with newly acquired Eddie Alvarez, many more fans will be looking forward to seeing what happens with the promotion.

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