Many fans feel that Demetrious Johnson is the greatest of all time when it comes to mixed martial arts. He rematches Adriano Moraes at ONE on Amazon Prime 1 later this month and will be hoping to claim the flyweight title at the second attempt.

Capturing the title would cement his stats as the GOAT. Johnson is already the most successful flyweight in UFC history and was expected to have a similar impact with ONE Championship.

But the fighter who has racked up 30 wins with 5 knockouts and 12 submissions came up short in his first shot at the ONE Championship flyweight title. He was stopped by Moraes last year in what was seen as a major upset.


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Open mind

Moraes knocked out Johnson at ONE on TNT and the American has been on a mission to enhance his skills ahead of the rematch. He has spent time training with former foe Henry Cejudo and has also been working on his grappling game,

“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 so I went and signed up at Professor Yan McCane’s place, GRPL Club, and I’m there working toward my black belt, and just soaking up knowledge.”

Johnson clearly has an open mind when it comes to learning and has enjoyed the feeling of being a beginner again,

“I’m actually going to a separate gym and getting instructions where it’s like, ‘hey, today, we’re going to (look at) deep half, how are we fixing a deep half?’ That’s how it was when I started mixed martial arts back in the day. That’s what I think made me successful. What earned me the name ‘The GOAT’ is I actually try to put myself in that one element of mixed martial arts, training and learning,” he said.


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New approach

He is renowned for his stamina and is a veteran of five round fights. The bout with Moraes is scheduled to last 25 minutes but Johnson has done this so many times before it isn’t a concern for him,

“The approach in this camp I was like ‘you know what, I’m not going to worry about my strength and conditioning because I never get tired. I still go to the gym, but that’s only for one day a week. I’m grappling four or five times a week now, and that’s an hour and a half to two hours and then after that, I’ll go do mixed martial arts for two hours. So now I’ll put in more hours into training mixed martial arts than I was in my previous fights.”

Johnson has focused on getting in shape by preparing for live situations rather than pumping iron or sprinting up hills. It sounds like he has a healthy respect for his opponent’s ground game and thinks this type of training will be the perfect preparation for the fight with Moraes,

“How does this play into the fight with Adriano? Well, obviously, Adriano is a black belt (in BJJ). My grappling conditioning has got significantly better because I’m being more efficient in what I actually do, which is fighting instead of going to the gym or lifting.”