Former UFC champion Demetrious Johnson fights in the United States for the first time in five years at ONE Fight Night 10 Friday.
It has been five years since Demetrious Johnson last fought in his homeland.
“Mighty Mouse” ends that this Friday night when he defends his flyweight title at ONE Fight Night 10 vs. Adriano Moraes in Denver. The main card airs live on Amazon Prime from 1stBank Center.
Johnson, who held the UFC flyweight title from 2012-2018, has faced off against Moraes twice before. Each fighter owns a knockout victory by flying knee over the other, with the ONE title exchanging hands both times.
For Johnson, though, this fight is about more than just the belt or his incredible record, which stands at 24-4-1 after his 2022 finish of Moraes.
Demetrious Johnson: ‘Super grateful’ for return to United States
The last time Johnson fought in the U.S. was in 2018 when he dropped the title to Cejudo. After that, he was traded to ONE for Ben Askren in a very unique exchange.
Following three consecutive wins in Asia, Johnson challenged Moraes for the title, falling via knockout. That bout also made history, as it was part of the first ONE event on TNT.
After taking time off following the loss, Johnson returned, landing his own spectacular finish on Moraes in yet another historic bout, as that fight took place on the first Amazon Prime event for the promotion.
“It’s a huge moment. The last time I fought on this stage was in 2018 against Henry Cejudo. Everyone thought I won that fight. I told him I won, but I said he can have it. Now, I get to come back here after five years in Asia. I’m super grateful. My kids get to watch me fight. My mother-in-law, father-in-law, everybody’s going to see me compete, so I’m super excited and I’m happy to headline [this] card.”
Adriano Moraes ready to spoil that return
While he might not carry the same name value as Johnson in the United States, Moraes has a strong resume himself.
The 35-year-old from Brazil is 20-4 overall including that finish of Johnson to go along with wins over Danny Kingad, Kairat Akhmetov, Kosuke Suzuki, Geje Eustaquio and Yuya Wakamatsu.
Interestingly enough, Moraes has always been strong in rematches. After losing to Akhmetov in 2015, he rebounded two years later to unify the ONE flyweight titles with a win.
He did the same to Eustaquio following a split decision defeat in 2018, winning back the belt a year later via decision.
“I’ve been fighting in Asia for 10 years and I’ve always wanted to fight in America. I think it’s going to be really good for my legacy. I’m really excited for my U.S. debut too. I think I learned [from fighting Demetrious Johnson] that one day you are the champion and another day you are a challenger. You know, life goes on. I think we need to be grateful every single day and be thankful to be healthy doing what you love to do. What’s really good for me is I have another opportunity to showcase [my skills]. I’m healthy and ready to go.”
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