Victory may have been elusive for Danny “The King” Kingad, but he definitely earned the respect of Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
Johnson won the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Championship Final after soundly beating Kingad by unanimous decision in the historic ONE: CENTURY PART I on Sunday, 13 October at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.
While the American showed fans why he is a 12-time World Champion, the young Filipino did not make it easy for him.
Showing his trademark athleticism and grappling defense, Kingad managed to escape each time Johnson thought he had him pinned.
“Danny Kingad and the Team Lakay guys are very good at exploding – getting you where you think you’ve solidified a submission or a position, then they just explode,” Johnson said.
“If you look back at his fights with Reece McLaren and Senzo Ikeda, they would have mount, and then lose that position, so I was focused on getting the finish with the kimura, but trying to hold position when I would get in a certain position.”
While Johnson was the clear victor, it got testy at times for him, especially when Kingad started to counter on the ground.
And despite another flawless performance from the AMC Pankration standout, the 24-year-old Baguio City native still forced him to sweat.
“When we were grappling, I would go for the kimura, and he would get out,” he said.
“When he went to the kimura on me, that’s fine because I will armbar you – that’s the reversal. But when I went for the armbar the first time, he got out. When I went for the guillotine, he got out. He was just like a fish!”
After a busy eight-month stretch with three bouts in the bag, the 33-year-old now gets a much needed rest.
“I think I’m going to take some time off, and if I can pick and choose, I want to fight in maybe February or March,” Johnson said.
“I’ll give my body a chance to relax, get my health where it needs to be, and then start training.”
After that, Johnson turns his focus to his showdown with the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes.
“Obviously what’s next is taking on the champ, Adriano Moraes – tough guy, very big flyweight, great grappler – so I’ve got to go home, see where his weaknesses are at, [then] go out there and give it all I’ve got.”
“Now we’re going back to five-round fights where I think I do a lot better, I have a lot more time to get adjusted and exploit my opponent.”
ONE Championship returns in less than two weeks with ONE: DAWN OF VALOR on 25 October at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Home Of Martial Arts then returns to the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines for ONE: MASTERS OF FATE on 8 November. Download the ONE Super App to catch both shows live and for free.
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