Adriano Moraes has been one of the driving forces behind ONE Championship. It is fitting the Brazilian flyweight will headline the company’s U.S. debut on Friday, May 5, against Demetrious Johnson as the two tangle for the third time at ONE Fight Night 10.
Having split their previous two matches, “Mikinho” knows what to expect. Ahead of the trilogy bout, Moraes has been working on his all-around game with the star-studded cast at American Top Team.
“Because it is a trilogy, the preparation is more detailed because we know each other well, but it is intense training the same way [as with any other opponent],” Moraes told ONE.
“I have great training partners and coaches that help me every day. Katel Kubis for Muay Thai, Steve Mocco and Mike Brown for wrestling, Pitu and Gabriel de Oliveira in boxing, Marcos ‘Parrumpinha’ and Rani Yahya in jiu-jitsu.
“‘Cobrinha’ came here and helped, and ‘Buchecha’ helps me in grappling as well. In MMA there is Pedro Munhoz, Alexandre Pantoja, and other guys who help me a lot.”
But his focus is not just on the skills he’ll need to beat Johnson.
Moraes is taking into consideration every element that will come into play on May 5. That includes the elevation of Denver. For that, Moraes is thankful his teammates have experienced it and can offer him advice on how to acclimate to the conditions.
“I gave a seminar there [recently] and spent a few days tuning in and setting myself with the altitude. I plan to go a few weeks earlier so as not to be caught by surprise with the altitude that everyone talks about,” said “Mikinho.”
“I have some training partners who have already fought there and told me about the altitude of Colorado. It’s all planned. My brother [Jorge] Masvidal has already fought there and gave me some tips.”
Johnson’s arrival in ONE made a big splash, but Moraes was there at the top to turn him away in his first attempt at gold. Although Moraes fell in the second meeting, he still showed himself well. Being on equal footing as “Mighty Mouse” validated his standing as an all-time great flyweight, and made their pairing an enduring rivalry inside the Circle.
“I consider Johnson the biggest rival of my career. He is considered the best in the world and also in the history of this division. He was my greatest victory, and at the same time, my greatest defeat,” said the former ONE flyweight world champion.
With the historic event just on the horizon, the Brazilian is taking it all in. Moraes knows the magnitude of the moment, and is pleased to be rewarded for his years of work by headlining ONE Fight Night 10.
All that is left is to defeat the greatest flyweight of all-time.
“I was the first world champion of ONE’s flyweight category. I’m glad to be one of the pillars of the division and to be in the main event of the first ONE Championship event in the U.S. It will be very significant to beat him here,” said Moraes.
ONE Fight Night 10 airs live on Prime Video at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Friday, May 5. The event is free for all Amazon Prime members based in the U.S. and Canada.