Demetrious Johnson’s first trilogy bout is nearing, and it’s going to be a big one. After splitting the first two bouts for the ONE Flyweight World Championship with Adriano Moraes, “Mighty Mouse” is hoping to close the book on the rivalry in emphatic style when ONE Championship arrives in the U.S. for the first time for ONE Fight Night 10 on May 5.
In preparation for the historic event, the reigning flyweight king has been putting in work with an old rival turned friend, Henry Cejudo.
“Henry Cejudo and I have a really great relationship. We respect one another as competitors. And we want to see each other do well; we both want to win. We both want to succeed inside and outside the cage with our businesses, YouTube, and creating content. It’s always good to go there to share knowledge,” Johnson said.
Cejudo’s Arizona gym has been a landing spot for some of the greatest talents to compete in mixed martial arts. And the special bond formed between the two flyweight greats has them learning from one another ahead of their respective upcoming bouts.
Although Johnson is now back in Washington finishing up his camp, he still speaks to “Triple C” and discusses life both in and out of MMA.
“He asked me, ‘Hey, man, what do you think about Aljamain Sterling? What do you think he’s going to try to do?’ And I give him my thing and how I would approach him beating Aljamain Sterling. Then he does it. He returns the same favor when it comes to Adriano. He was like, ‘dude, that last fight you did was amazing. If I were Adriano, this is what I would do.’,” said “Mighty Mouse.”
“We just vibe off each other, and we get in the lab and work together. I wish I could spend more time with him. But now we’re both deep in our camps. And we’re focused on ourselves, but we literally just talked two days ago.”
The bond between Johnson and Cejudo is strengthened by where they are at in life. Both men have been at the top of their game for over a decade, have beautiful families, and are enjoying success outside of the cage.
“Mighty Mouse” has never been shy about dicscussing how escaping the grind helps him to improve, and he shares those sentiments with his fellow star.
Ahead of his third meeting with Moraes, Johnson says that he has dipped into his mixed-rules meeting with Muay Thai superstar Rodtang Jitmuangnon to find new ways past the Brazilian superstar. Having faced him twice before, the flyweight king admits that he has had to flex his creativity to finding new avenues for success against “Mikinho.”
“Sometimes, when you fight the same person, it can almost stop your growth as a mixed martial artist because you’re preparing for the same person over and over and over again. After I lost to Adriano, I fought Rodtang. I felt like that kind of gave me a breath of fresh air. It’s something totally different,” said “Mighty Mouse.”
“After Rodtang, I fought Adriano again. I came up with something different, and then now I’m fighting him again. So I just got to go to the training camp and stay healthy. Try to be creative, and bring some new tools to the fight, but at the end of the day, it’s still a fight.“
That constant creativity has helped Johnson become a star, and his martial arts fanbase remains fervent. Ahead of ONE’s debut in the United States, Johnson gave advice to other prospective global stars on the card on how to reach the next stratosphere.
“I think the misconception many people have is that your star will rise when it’s time to rise. And sometimes your star might not rise, depending on what you do in your career. When I was in the UFC, my star rose. I mean, it was high, but it didn’t rise. It rose with the underground and the hardcore fans. But now I find my star has risen even without the hardcore fans. I’m a household name. I think that came from my creativity, the flying wiz bar. And for me, being relentless when I fight and also the last knockout. I think my star has risen, and also me being so active on my YouTube channel,” he said.
ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs. Moraes III airs live on Prime Video on Friday, May 5. The event is free for all Amazon Prime subscribers based in the U.S. and Canada and begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.