Demetrious Johnson has only just been crowned the flyweight king but pretenders to the throne are already casting covetous glances at this crown. Among them is a man who has worn it before with Kairat Akhmetov calling for a shot at the new champion.
The #2 ranked flyweight wasted no time in calling for a shot at Johnson,
“Congratulations on a great fight and championship belt, DJ. Nothing but respect, you are a legend of this sport. But you know I’m next in line to fight you,” he told ONEFC.com.
Akhmetov is riding a five fight winning streak and hasn’t tasted defeat since 2018. The former champion is looking to recapture the title and feels he should be next in line for a title shot and told Johnson that,
“After five victories in five fights I am the top contender for the belt. I’m the only (contender) you haven’t met yet. Let’s have this fight when you’re ready, champ.”
"The Kazakh" overthrows "The King!" Who's next for Kairat Akhmetov? 🇰🇿 #ONEWinterWarriors2 #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship pic.twitter.com/c9SqdVlpNN
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) December 17, 2021
Nothing but respect
Earlier this year Akhmetov made it clear that there were only two fights he was interested in, a bout with Johnson or a shot at the belt. Now that the former UFC flyweight king has the title he feels that is the only match to make,
“I have always looked up to Johnson. When I first started fighting in this sport, I was already watching him. When ‘Mighty Mouse’ signed a contract with ONE, I immediately let it be known that I could meet him with dignity in the ring. Many years have passed, and I think (my) time has come.”
While Akhmetov is desperate to secure a fight with Johnson he makes it clear that he has nothing but respect for the new champion.
“I admire him as a person, as an athlete, and as a family man. I look up to him. My dream is to meet Johnson in the ring.”
View this post on Instagram
Akhmetov is 1-1 with former ONE Championship flyweight champion Adriano Moraes, just like Johnson is. He knows he would be an underdog against the best 125lber in the history of the sport but is convinced he can pull off the upset,
“I have a winning streak of five fights and I’m second in the rankings (so) I have a chance. This is MMA where one punch can decide the outcome of a fight (and) I believe in myself and in my victory.”
While Akhmetov’s record of 29-2 certainly stands up to close scrutiny he is nowhere near as big a name as Johnson. But the 34 year old sees this as a chance to put himself on the global map by beating the most famous flyweight on the planet,
“This is my dream fight, and I don’t want to miss the chance to make myself known to the whole world.”