Conventional wisdom had it that Demetrious Johnson was the best flyweight on the ONE Championship roster. Adriano Moraes needed less than two rounds to put that theory firmly to bed.
Having beaten the former UFC flyweight champion in emphatic fashion at ONE on TNT the Brazilian is on top of the MMA world. The only possible concern for Moraes is that he might have run out of opponents having already beaten three of the five ranked flyweights.
However he sees a former opponent as being the biggest threat. Moraes is 1-1 with #4 ranked Kairat Akhmetov and thinks that the trilogy match could the the fight to male,
“I have unfinished business against Kairat Akhmetov, you know, it’s 1-1 so you can do the big trilogy. I think he’s going to do good in the division.”
However he does not think there is any shortage of potential opponents and breaks them down one at a time,
“The flyweight division in ONE Championship is so tough. There are a lot of killers in the division, We have Yuya Wakamatsu, the Japanese guy. He was here in Florida training. I think he is excited to fight for the belt.”
Wakamatsu is one of the fighters in the top five he has never previously faced. The other is Reece McLaren who he thinks was very unfortunate to be on the wrong end of a split decision when he faced Danny Kingad at ONE: ‘Dawn of Heroes’ in 2019,
“Reece McLaren. He’s an amazing guy, black belt jiu-jitsu. He’s a really good fighter. For me, I really gave the fight to Reece McLaren that night, but the judges gave the fight to Danny Kingad, and I really want to see this fight again.”
Lot of killers
Moraes also notes that Kingad has been doing ‘really good’ and he clearly doesn’t feel like he is in any danger of running out of opponents,
“The flyweight division in ONE Championship is so tough. There are a lot of killers in the division.”
It doesn’t sound as though Johnson will be handed an immediate rematch, having been comprehensively beaten in the first fight. Moraes would like to see the other four ranked fighters face off in a tournament format, with the winner handed a title shot.
But should it happen Moraes knows who his favourite would be,
“I think Kairat Akhmetov wins this. I think he wants this trilogy.”