If there are better MMA fighters in the history of the sport better than Demetrious Johnson, it’s a short list. And “Mighty Mouse” has evidently not lost a step, either.
Johnson defeated Adriano Moraes via unanimous decision Friday night in the main event of ONE Fight Night 10 in Broomfield, Colorado to retain the ONE 135-pound title. It was a trilogy bout. Moraes knocked Johnson out in the first fight, while Johnson got revenge with a knockout of his own in the second bout. The card was Singapore-based ONE’s first event in the United States.
Leading into this weekend, the 36-year-old Johnson had teased that this could be his final career fight. But there was no retirement announcement in Johnson’s postfight interview. He asked the sold-out crowd if they thought he should continue fighting, which earned a resounding “yes!” in response.
“I’ve gotta talk to my wife first and I’ll get back to you guys, OK?” Johnson said.
Johnson is one of the most decorated fighters in MMA history. He owns the UFC record for most consecutive title defenses (11 at flyweight) and was the only flyweight champion the UFC had from when the belt was introduced in 2012 until 2018.
ONE brought the next 135-pound title contender, Kairat Akhmetov, into the cage as Johnson’s next challenger. Johnson seemed non-committal about the matchup, since he has not yet decided whether to hang up the gloves or not.
When asked by interviewer Mitch Chilson if he’d fight Akhmetov, Johnson replied: “Show me the money!”
Moraes started strong, using his reach and length to keep Johnson at bay. He landed several hard punches in the second round. But Johnson took control in the third. He had to eat some shots to get inside the range of Moraes, but once there he was able to get into a clinch and eat up Moraes’ body with knee after knee. Those definitely added up as the fight went on, as Moraes clearly faded. Johnson opened up with punching combinations more in the late rounds, bloodying Moraes a bit.
“I don’t think there’s another person in mixed martial arts that has a better clinch game than me,” Johnson said. … “His body is so durable. I was beating the f— out of that body.”
Johnson (25-4-1) is a two-time ONE Championship 135-pound titleholder. The Washington resident is 5-1 since departing the UFC in 2018 via trade, with the only loss coming to Moraes in 2021. ONE dealt Ben Askren to the UFC in the unprecedented deal. This was Johnson’s first successful ONE title defense.
Moraes (20-5) had won three straight before these past two losses to Johnson. The Brazilian-born fighter, who trains out of American Top Team in Florida, is a three-time ONE 135-pound champion with four successful title defenses. Moraes, 35, has an 11-5 record in ONE going back to 2013.