It looks like ONE Championship is shaking things up a bit for former UFC flyweight king Demetrious Johnson. ‘Mighty Mouse’ left the world’s largest MMA promotion back in 2018, as part of a ‘trade’ deal between ONE and the UFC—with the Endeavor owned company acquiring Ben Askren in exchange. Johnson went on to win the ONE flyweight (135 lb) Grand Prix, but lost a subsequent title shot to champion Adriano Moraes earlier this year, via second round KO.
So where does Johnson go from there? It appears the promotion has something new in mind for the long time Matt Hume protege, with ONE president Chatri Sityodtong announcing a special mixed-rules bout featuring DJ against 24-year-old Muay Thai star Rodtang Jitmuangnon. Sityodtong made the announcement on a recent episode of the MMA Hour.
“Four rounds, three minutes apiece,” Sityodtong explained, describing the bout agreement between Rodtang and Johnson. “The first round is Muay Thai in 4oz gloves; second round is MMA in full MMA rules—normal ruleset; third round is Muay Thai; and fourth round is MMA.
“Why it’s so intriguing is – and it’s crazy, because this bout has already been signed – if you think about it, the first round opens, Rodtang ... he has 3-minutes to try and knock out DJ. So DJ, there’s a lot of pressure on him. But then if he survives, the next round Rodtang has to survive 3 minutes of DJ’s explosive wrestling and submissions and whatnot—I don’t think DJ’s gonna strike with him. And DJ’s got that pressure, ‘Man, I’ve got to sub him with in 3 minutes.’ Same thing with Rodtang in the first round, ‘I’ve got to knock him out within that.’ So it’s going to be this very PRIDE-style, ‘back in the old days’—we want to do something special like that. We wanted to do something fun that would commemorate martial arts in a way that celebrates all of mixed martial arts and its history, not just our 10-year history.”
That 10-year anniversary show takes place on December 5th in Singapore, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Alongside the 135lb mixed-rules bout, the ONE Championship president also announced the return of bantamweight (145 lb) champion Bibiano Fernandes, who will take on former UFC fan-favorite John Lineker in defense of his title. A lightweight title fight between champion Thanh Le and BJJ star Garry Tonon has also been set for the event.