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“Mad Respect” – Demetrious Johnson Fearlessly Accepts #2-Ranked Contender as Next Rival for ONE Championship Gold

Published 09/03/2022, 10:30 AM EDT

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Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson may only be one week removed from claiming the ONE Flyweight World Championship, but the American MMA GOAT already has an opponent in mind for his first title defense.

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That man is former divisional king Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov, who currently sits at the #2-ranked spot in the stacked flyweight division.


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“You know, I wouldn’t mind giving Kairat Akhmetov a chance, but it’s up to ONE Championship,” the AMC Pankration and Evolve MMA representative offered.

If Johnson had it his way, he would be keen to dance inside the Circle alongside the Kazakhstani martial artist as he has been impressed by what he’s seen from the #2-ranked contender so far.

Akhmetov has not dropped a match since losing to Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio in January 2018. The 34-year-old seems back to his best after coping with injuries a couple of years prior.

“At the beginning of this, I didn’t even know I was going to get a title shot. I thought it’d be Rodtang that I was going to go down to fight whoever was next in line or work my way back to the ladder, you know,” the 36-year-old pointed out.

“But Kairat Ahkmetov, you know, mad respect to him. He’s on, like, a five or six-fight win streak. I thought he was going to get a title shot against Adriano. But they called me and said, hey, this is who you’re fighting next. I said, okay, sounds good.”

Johnson claimed his spot atop the throne following a dominant outing at ONE on Prime Video 1 on American primetime last Friday, August 26.

Demetrious Johnson is the best flyweight in the world

The 12-time flyweight World Champion was a constant threat in the pocket against Adriano Moraes, who struggled to cope with his rival’s movement as the match progressed.

“What a Ridiculous Knee” – MMA Fans Lose Their Mind as Demetrious Johnson Avenges Loss With a Walk Off KO at ONE on Prime Video 1

Eventually, an overhand right and a flying knee crumbled the Brazilian kingpin at 3:50 of the fourth round, pushing him to the first knockout loss of his career. 


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Johnson would love to carry that momentum against another man who held the gold. At the same time, he wants to prove to the martial arts world why he is the GOAT of the sport.


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“When I got to the World Grand Prix, I was kind of satisfied, and then you know, they came up with this belt, big and gold. So like I said, man, I’m grateful. Like, I’m just grateful to be in a position I’m in,” Johnson said.

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Written by:

Deepak Kumar


One take at a time

Deepak Kumar is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. His love for MMA comes from the chaos and violence the fight business brings to the table. A BJJ aspirant, Deepak began following the sport as a casual fan when Ronda Rousey was finishing her opponents in seconds.
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Edited by:

Reubyn Coutinho