“I Learned a Lot From Him” – Adriano Moraes’s Heartful Message for Former Rival Demetrious Johnson

Published 09/01/2023, 6:30 AM EDT

Follow Us

Former ONE Flyweight MMA World Champion Adriano Moraes hasn’t tasted defeat many times, but he always learns from it when he does.

“Mikinho” absorbed the first back-to-back losses of his career when he fell to flyweight MMA king Demetrious Johnson in the main event of ONE’s debut on U.S. soil, ONE Fight Night 10, this past May.

Adriano Moraes not satisfied with performances against Demetrious Johnson

Their trilogy matchup closed out the thrilling series between the pair, with “Mighty Mouse” coming in as the victor by 2-1. The first two battles finished with highlight-reel knockouts, but the final matchup needed all five rounds to be decided. Months removed from the encounter, Moraes has had a chance to reflect on what went wrong for him.

“I believe I held back too much. I was waiting for the right moment to perform some actions in the fight and ended up waiting too long,” he told ONE Championship in an interview. “I held back a lot and ended up not doing everything I wanted to do in this fight, unfortunately.” The Brazilian superstar shocked the world by handing Johnson the first knockout of his fabled career via a knee to the head in April 2021.

“Mighty Mouse” then ended proceedings the same way a year and a half later, leaving fans to predict a similar result when their trilogy bout arrived. But both men avoided traps that would have put them in dangerous situations when they met this past May, resulting in a technical battle between two legends of the sport.

Adriano Moraes grateful for the experience of competing against Demetrious Johnson 

Despite his loss, Moraes has no regrets about his performance, and he looks positively on the time he had in competition with the man many refer to as the GOAT of MMA.“Sharing the cage with DJ was a great experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I learned a lot from him,” he said.

“Regardless of victory or defeat, the lesson that remains is to recognize that life has these things, that one day you are on top, and the next you are at the bottom. One day you are the champion, and the next you are the contender. But you have to always be grateful for everything.”


Written by:

Aditya Vaibhav


One take at a time

Aditya Vaibhav is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. He discovered MMA in the year 2009 after watching Chuck Liddell on Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior, at the age of 10. A follower of combat sports, Aditya uses writing as a medium to actively participate in the domain he is so passionate about.
Show More>

Edited by:

Rupkamal Sarma