Next month, ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes will stand across the Circle from the toughest challenge of his impressive career.
“Mikinho” is set to defend his strap against 12-time Flyweight Mixed Martial Arts World Champion and all-time great Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in the main event of “ONE on TNT I” on Thursday, 8 April.
“For me, this is the best fight in the flyweight division in the world today,” said Moraes, himself a six-time Flyweight World Champion.
“If you could have one flyweight in the world to fight against the legend — who can beat DJ in a good way — it’s me. I believe that.”
“Mikinho” is well-aware that Johnson’s effortless movements on the ground make him a dangerous challenger. But the Brazilian has been preparing hard, strategizing, and working with exceptional athletes to counter the legend’s deep skill set.
“His transitions are really good, his grappling is awesome, his strength is good, his conditioning is high level, and he’s smart — he does everything, and it looks easy,” Moraes said.
“Because DJ is so good at fighting, you need to have a really good strategy. So, Katel Kubis is doing a lot of good strategy with me. Conan Silveira gave his thoughts, of course, and Mike Brown is one of the best coaches in the world.
“Plus, I have a bunch of other guys like Kyoji Horiguchi and Jussier Formiga, a lot of [the best] flyweight fighters in the world today. So, I think this fight is going to be amazing.”
Moraes will also have to battle the aura surrounding Johnson, who further cemented his GOAT status by winning the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Championship.
Still, the defending king doesn’t see “Mighty Mouse’s” glory getting in the way.
“DJ is famous, but I don’t care about that. I just try to focus on me, focus on my path, and do what I need to do to go there and have my hand raised,” Moraes said.
“I was cheering for him to win the World Grand Prix [so I could] fight against him. You know his story — he was one of the best champions in one of the most famous organizations in the world.
“Of course, people are going to put me as the underdog, but I don’t care. Everyone has their own story, and I just keep creating mine.”
It won’t be an easy story to draft come 8 April, but if “Mikinho” can pen a winning tale, he knows it’ll change his entire life – and those of the people around him.
“If I beat DJ, it is going to be really good for my career, for my team, and for my family. I think I’m ready for it,” he says.
“I’ve been in ONE Championship for eight years, and I am going to defend the ONE Championship flag. DJ has everything already, and he’s trying to cross my way. He’s gonna pay, that’s it.”
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