Even after carving out one of the most successful careers in the history of MMA, Demetrious Johnson is still adding new wrinkles to his game.
“Mighty Mouse” is coming off a highlight-reel stoppage of Adriano Moraes in the main event of ONE on Prime Video 1. The 36-year-old claimed ONE Championship’s 135-pound title with the victory, and he also avenged a 2021 loss to Moraes where he was stopped in the second round.
The size difference between the two fighters was noticeable from the moment they entered the cage, and Moraes was able to get Johnson down and maintain top control for much of the opening two rounds.
“Going into the fourth, I was on the stool and cornermen James and Tony were doing an amazing job. I look at Matt (Hume) and I go, ‘Zombie time!’ And just took it to him. It’s a thing we worked on a lot in training camp, which was how I kind of looked at it, like a zombie; just walking towards — just covering distance. I just call it zombie, walking towards (Moraes)… ‘I go forward, I don’t care what he throws, I’m gonna eat it, I don’t give a damn, I just don’t care.’ I called it zombie.”
“This Is Something New”
Johnson has already secured his legacy as one of the sport’s all-time greats, largely through his run of dominance as flyweight champion when he was competing in the UFC.
“Mighty Mouse” became the UFC’s inaugural flyweight champion when defeated rival Joseph Benavidez at UFC 152. Johnson went on to defend the belt 11 times, and a few of those victories were included in the UFC’s recently released list of their Top 10 Flyweight Knockouts.
After losing a split decision in his 2018 rematch with Henry Cejudo, the UFC famously elected to send their former flyweight king to ONE Championship and received Ben Askren in return. Johnson quickly put together 3-straight wins in 2019 before suffering that initial loss to Moraes in 2021 when he challenged for the Brazilian’s 135-pound title.
The 36-year-old’s skill has never been in doubt, but he claims that this new “zombie time” calls for him to be a little less technical and a little more reckless in order to create openings.
“There was times in the gym where I’d be sparring, moving fast, elusive, and I won’t get hit zero times, zero at all. Then I’m like, ‘Alright, I’m gonna be a zombie. I’m gonna train my eyes and body to weather that storm, and take the shots, and eat it, and keep pushing through it.’ So I named it zombie… this is something new.”
What do you think of Johnson’s comments about “zombie time” and how he used it to defeat Moraes at ONE on Prime Video 1?