Demetrious Johnson went 3-0 in seven months to win the ONE Championship flyweight (135-pound) grand prix, but division champion Adriano Moraes is not impressed.
“He dominated his last two fights, but didn’t impress me that much,” Moraes told MMA Fighting. “I believe that a fight with me with will be way better, and we’ll put on a show.”
“Mighty Mouse” made his debut under the ONE banner in March, submitting Yuya Wakamatsu with a guillotine choke after a tough first round. In the following bouts, the former UFC champion scored decision wins over Tatsumitsu Wada and Danny Kingad.
“Mikinho,” who has been in title fights in eight of his last nine appearances in the Singapore-based promotion, said Johnson should have finished his last opponents “instead of winning by points, to impress me and the audience. But he did a good job.”
The Brazilian flyweight hasn’t fought since January, when he avenged a controversial split decision loss to Geje Eustaquio and recaptured the title. Moraes can’t leave the United States before his immigration papers are ready, but expects an early 2020 showdown with Johnson.
“I’m really happy to know who my next opponent will be, and I’m super excited to fight Demetrious Johnson,” Moraes said. “I’ve been training really hard. Let’s wait for a date and location for this fight. I’m very excited to defend my title against him.”
Both Moraes and Johnson have never been finished in a combined 55 professional MMA fights. But the American Top Team flyweight believes he has the necessary tools to make it happen.
“I don’t think it will last five rounds,” said Moraes, who has been sharpening his jiu-jitsu with grappling wizard Rani Yahya. “I think I have some weapons that he does not. I think my reach will help me a lot in this fight, and I don’t think it goes five rounds.
“He usually takes the fight to the ground, but I don’t know if he will try that against me because I’m also a grappler. If we stay on the feet, I have an advantage.”
Moraes, who finished Johnson’s recent opponent, Danny Kingad, with a rear-naked choke in the first round when they met for the ONE belt last November, hopes to be seen as the No. 1 flyweight in the world with a win over Johnson.
“I’ll treat this fight like a normal fight, as if I’m defending my title against any other fighter,” Moraes said, “but the fact that he brings his history to the tale, being (a UFC) champion, will make more people want to watch the fight. That doesn’t impress me a bit, though. I’m ready to defend my title as I’ve been doing for six years.”