American mixed martial arts legend Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson will be competing for the first time outside of the United States for the first time in his career. He makes his ONE Championship debut at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan at ONE: A NEW ERA on March 31, 2019 where he is set to face Japanese warrior Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu in the quarter-final round of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
ONE Championship is making a tremendous push into the Japanese market and if the ONE: A NEW ERA card is any indication, it looks as if the promotion is pulling out all the stops to ensure this event is a success. As a kid who grew up watching Japanese mixed martial arts, Johnson is happy to be competing in Tokyo.
“I’ve been watching Japanese mixed martial arts for a very long time and that’s what I grew up watching,” Johnson said. “I’m very excited because I have never competed overseas before and obviously doing it in Japan is fantastic.”
Johnson feels proud to be competing at ONE: A NEW ERA where the heavily-stacked fight card includes four reigning World Champions set to defend their titles. He said, “I’m excited to be one of the forerunners for Japanese mixed martial arts for ONE Championship in the coming years.”
While Johnson may be visiting Tokyo to take care of business, it is not the first time he has been to Japan. He has made trips to the country in the past but as a sightseer.
“Tokyo, Japan is beautiful it is my third time to visit here,” Johnson said. “The food is amazing. The wagyu beef is fascinating and I love it.”
As a former 12-time UFC Flyweight Champion, Johnson is looking forward to showcasing his skills to his fans as well as a new Asian audience. The American fighter is excited to discover how he would fare against Asian athletes.
“The fans can expect to see a complete martial artist who has conquered the North American market and now coming over here,” Johnson said. “I want to see how much I hang with the Asian athletes.”
In the past few months, Johnson has been training at home in preparation for his bout against Wakamatsu. Fans are about to witness a new chapter unfold in the former UFC champion’s career with everything set and ready for his first ONE Championship bout.
“I’m looking forward to be competing with a new set of rules and weight class, fighting with fresh competition,” Johnson concluded. “It’s a new beginning and a new adventure for me.”
Here is Johnson during an open workout in Japan with Angela Lee and Demetrious Johnson: