In ONE Championship knees to a grounded opponent are all good. Demetrious Johnson may have found himself on the wrong end of one during his title fight with Adriano Moraes but ‘Mighty Mouse’ is still a big fan of the more permissive ruleset.
Speaking to the media immediately after ONE on TNT Johnson said,
“I like these rules. It’s a progression of a fight. I went down on my back, I was coming up for an underhook, Adriano had me posted and he blasted a knee, the fights over, it’s done, I don’t get anymore concussions, it’s just done.”
Johnson says he found himself in an unfamiliar position and the taller Moraes did a good job of using his height,
“It was a different position than I’ve been in. Adriano did a good job of using his length. He fully extended me and landed the knee.”
Gracious in defeat
This was the first time Johnson had suffered a knockout in his professional career and he was gracious in defeat. After all, the former UFC flyweight champion used the grounded knee technique to devastating effect on his ONE Championship debut,
“I did it to Yuya Wakamatsu and ended up getting the finish. The rule is meant to be there to keep the fight progressing and end the fight. If Adriano wasn’t able to land that knee, yes, I would have still been in that fight so he would have had to do something totally different. I’m totally content with what happened.”
Moraes was a significant underdog heading into the fight. This, despite being champion as well as five inches taller than Johnson. The Brazilian was able to stay on the outside and evade attacks in the first round and bided his time before getting the stoppage in the second stanza.
In hindsight, it was the perfect strategy for the American Top Team Fighter and Johnson admits he may has been too keen to get on the inside.
“Adriano loves to run,” he said.
“If you look at all his fights. Kairat Akhmetov and Geje Eustaquio he’s very passive the way he goes about fighting. He never pushes the pace and gets the fight going. He’s always looking to go about his fights that way. I’m the type of athlete that I’m going to push the pace. That’s where I got my name, that’s how I became a household name.”
Johnson tried to negate this by pushing the pace but the game plan backfired.
“The ref said action. And I did my part moving forward and pushing the pace. Maybe I was too overzealous to get to him. But I’m not going to let him dictate where the fight went. It is what it is.”
Johnson dismissed the idea of an immediate rematch in the wake of the result. Instead, he suggested a surprising alternative for his next bout.
“I’ve got six fights left on my contract. Maybe I’ll try (kickboxing). When you’ve been the best in the world for six years straight it’s almost like you don’t want to put that pressure on yourself. So for me I’m like ‘f**k it, why not?’ Let’s maybe try a kickboxing fight with big gloves and say ‘you know I had a professional kickboxing fight’.”