Adriano Moraes shocked the martial arts world in 2021 with a stunning finish of Demetrious Johnson to retain the ONE Flyweight World Championship. He will get the opportunity to reaffirm his superiority over the American on August 26 at ONE 161.
None of that surprise came from the American Top Team camp, as Moraes has long been one of the best flyweights in the world and was prepared to do exactly what was needed to retain his gold.
“A lot of people were surprised, but my team and the people who always believed in me weren’t surprised. We already knew. We work very hard, we have a unique discipline. So for us, it was a normal working day, and thank God everything went well,” Moraes told ONE.
“I think that in this rematch, I have nothing to prove. I just want to give my best, as always, and show that I am an increasingly complete athlete.”
Although Moraes feels as if he has nothing to prove inside of the ONE Championship Circle, he is well aware that the rematch against “Mighty Mouse” will be a massive opportunity for his legacy.
Johnson, a multiple-time World Champion and considered by many to be the greatest mixed martial arts athlete of all time, is still the benchmark. Defeating Johnson a second time while adding to his list of World Championship title defenses will be another move into immortality for the Brazilian.
“This fight is very important for my legacy because I want to make as many title defenses as I can during my career. And [another] victory over him will help a lot in building that legacy,” admitted Moraes.
“As champion, I have to defend my title. Regardless of who my opponent is, I have to be ready on the scheduled date to do my job in the best possible way. I’ve fought Demetrious Johnson. I’ve shown my strength against him. But if this is the fight ONE Championship wants, if that’s the plan, I’m in. Let’s make it happen.”
The American Top Team star believes he can finish Johnson again. However, the talented ONE Flyweight World Champion is not predicting a perfect copy of the result from their first meeting.
Moraes is too aware of the talent of Johnson, making each matchup unique and difficult to assess.
But the Brazilian’s plan is still to take out the division’s top contender and continue his reign on August 26.
“This is the kind of fight that is very difficult to predict. Demetrious Johnson is a very smart guy, very tough, and I know he’s coming in very hungry for this rematch. I’m training a lot. I want to show my evolution as an athlete, so I believe I can get a submission in the fourth round,” said Moraes.
ONE 161 will air in U.S. primetime on Friday, August 26.