Demetrious Johnson is undeniably one of the greatest fighters of all-time. The argument can even be made for the greatest of all-time. Now with ONE Championship, the UFC title defense record holder is looking to add some more gold to his already huge collection.
Having bested a game Yuya Wakamatsu via second-round guillotine in his promotional debut in March, the former UFC flyweight king has now advanced onward to the ONE flyweight Grand Prix semifinals where he’ll face the former DEEP flyweight champion, Tatsumitsu Wada. A date for their bout has yet to be determined.
Assuming that Johnson can win his way through the tournament by taking out Wada and then the winner of Danny Kingad vs Kairat Akhmetov, we would see him get the ONE 135-pound title wrapped around his waist.
Meanwhile in other parts of Asia… Japan to be more specific, an old foe has been creating an incredible legacy of their own.
The sixth UFC title defense in the career of Demetrious Johnson saw him take on the young contender in Kyoji Horiguchi at UFC 186 in April 2015. Easily forgettable in regards to its competitiveness in the striking department, it would be in the grappling realm that Johnson would dominate his way to a victory in.
Since then, Horiguchi has not lost a single time in his 12 MMA bouts that have followed. He’s only gotten better and continues to jot himself into the history books for his native country of Japan.
With so much having changed for both fighters since then, a rematch between the two would be about as compelling as any that could be made in MMA today. Unfortunately, the legendary ‘Mighty Mouse’ doesn’t see the need for it.
“No I don’t think [I’d fight Horiguchi again],” Johnson told BJPenn.com. “I have my sights set on winning the ONE World Grand Prix and winning the belt. I think he’s more focused on going to Bellator and I’m more focused on keeping on competing here. And at the end of the day, I won the last fight, so there’s no reason I would seek out another fight with somebody I already beat. I’m looking to accomplish things I haven’t been able to accomplish yet.
“I love ONE Championship, I love what they do, I love what they stand for as a company, the way they treat their athletes. It’s an amazing company and I look forward to finishing off my career with them.”
While Johnson awaits for his fight with Wada to get a date, the current RIZIN bantamweight champion in Horiguchi will be looking to claim the Bellator 135-pound crown by defeating Darrion Caldwell for a second time at Bellator 222 on June 14 in Madison Square Garden.
And in regards to a potential rematch with the last man to beat him, Horiguchi would unsurprisingly like to make it happen if possible one day.
“Of course, I wish to face Demetrious Johnson, [in the] very near future,” he told BJPenn.com in May 2018. “As long as the future permits. I think it’s more [up to the] UFC.”
Obviously, at the time of those comments from the 28-year old Japanese superstar, Johnson was still with the UFC.
Here’s to hoping that RIZIN and ONE can get together and make this rematch happen at some point in the coming years. Cross-promotion has been trending as of late after all…
Drake Riggs is an MMA writer based out of Brush Prairie, Washington, USA who specializes in feature pieces, the women's fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. He has been a passionate fan of MMA ever since 2009. Drake has most notably written for BJPenn.com, FanSided, The Body Lock, South China Morning Post, MyMMANews, Cageside Press, Sherdog, The Scrap, and MMA Today. He has also written for and created video content for RT Sport. As for other sports, Drake is a longtime fan of the NFL's Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DrakeRiggs_ . Also check out all of his video content on YouTube at: "Drake Riggs" where he uploads fighter interviews, podshows, and various other types of content.