Ahead of his second attempt at capturing gold under the ONE Championship banner, flyweight legend Demetrious Johnson has provided an update on his career longevity.
Johnson, who is widely considered the greatest flyweight of all time and an underrated shout in the overall GOAT debate, is still going strong at 36 years old, competing against some of the best over in Asia’s ONE Championship promotion.
After a lengthy UFC stint that saw him break records with his title reign, “Mighty Mouse” swapped the Octagon for the Circle, where he’s since gone 3-1 in mixed martial arts competition — with success in a mixed-rules fight against Rodtang Jitmuangnon adding a fourth dose of victory for Johnson.
But while he’s held a silver belt in the organization courtesy of a triumph in the ONE Championship Flyweight Grand Prix, Johnson is yet to hold gold having been knocked out for the first time in his career by Adriano Moraes last April.
Tonight, ONE debuts on the Amazon Prime Video streaming service with the blockbuster rematch between reigning flyweight king “Mikinho” and “Mighty Mouse,” who will be looking to secure his place on the throne at the second time of asking.
Ahead of the contest, Johnson spoke with MMA Junkie’s Danny Segura, who asked the MMA legend whether he still expects to close out his career inside the Circle, as he’s previously said to be the case.
“Yeah, I think (I will finish out my career in ONE),” Johnson said. “I mean, I’m 36 years old. I got a couple more fights left on my contract, and I’m happy over here. I don’t see why not… We’ll see what happens.”
When asked for a timeline on his possible retirement from the sport, Johnson noted that he’s targeting his final stand at around the time he’ll turn 40, where his priority will solely be on family time.
“I think three more years. Three to four more years,” Johnson predicted. “I’ll probably keep on competing (for that long) depending on how my body feels. After that, I wanna spend as much time as I can with my family and my kids.”
Johnson Targets ONE Submission Grappling Post-MMA
While it seems there will be limited opportunities for fans to still see Johnson battle it out as a mixed martial artist, his retirement won’t bring with it a complete exit from combat sports competition.
Despite only targeting a few more years in MMA, “Mighty Mouse” noted that he’s got his sights set on submission grappling. With that, he’s certainly in the right place, given that ONE has begun to shine more of a spotlight on the sport in recent months and years.
From the signing of Brazilian jiu-jitsu prodigies, the Ruotolo twins, who debuted earlier this year with victories over Garry Tonon and Shinya Aoki, to the introduction of a submission grappling title, set to be fought for by Mikey Musumeci and Cleber Souza at ONE on Prime Video 2 next month, Asia’s premier promotion is looking to bring the sport to a wider audience.
“As far as competition wise (post-MMA retirement), I think I’ll focus more on grappling,” Johnson said. “Just because you’re not taking any brain trauma… I think I’ll focus more on grappling, and then go from there.
“Right now, I believe that staying Asia is probably the best option… Like I said, I wanna continue doing grappling. ONE Championship has grappling. They have Mikey Musumeci taking on that gentlemen (Souza) for the grappling world (title),” Johnson added. “For me, I would love to do grappling and compete in the Gi, and go that route.”
Would you like to see Demetrious Johnson try his hand at submission grappling following the conclusion of his MMA career?