Demetrious Johnson has a lot of big goals in mind now that he’s officially part of ONE Championship and that might include crossing over into a different combat sport.
While he was an 11-time defending flyweight champion in the UFC, Johnson never really explored the possibility of doing anything other than mixed martial arts.
Now with his new home at ONE Championship, where they routinely promote MMA as well as their ONE Super Series, which involves both Muay Thai and kickboxing bouts, Johnson has a lot of options available to him.
In addition to those striking sports, ONE Championship has also hosted grappling matches like the one they held between former lightweight champion Shinya Aoki and multi-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion Garry Tonon.
Johnson says his main focus remains on MMA but he likes the idea that he could eventually crossover into another combat sport because it’s actually possible with ONE Championship.
“I definitely think I have the skill set to do it,” Johnson said during the ONE Championship media conference call on Sunday. “I actually have a Muay Thai, shoot boxing competition underneath my belt but first things first is to get my toes wet for the mixed martial arts. It’s definitely something as long as Chatri [Sityodtong] is OK with it and my coach is OK with it, I don’t see what’s wrong with that.
“That’s one of the beautiful things about ONE Championship is that you’re not just stuck in one pool. I’m sure if I put my name in a hat to try a Muay Thai fight, I’m sure they wouldn’t be opposed to it as long as I’m able to display that I have the skill set to do that, which I truly believe I do.”
ONE Championship is obviously heavily invested in Johnson and has already promoted him as the best pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts.
That said, ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong says that he’s definitely open to Johnson exploring the other combat sports they promote and he could see Johnson eventually holding several titles while competing in the organization.
“For sure, I think the future we’re going to see crossover world champions across the different arts,” Sityodtong added. “So you’ll have an MMA world champion who is also a Muay Thai world champion and is also a kickboxing champion on the ONE Championship platform. It makes it very, very exciting that we have the best of the best from each of the different disciplines whether it’s MMA to Muay Thai to kickboxing, boxing, submission grappling, jiu-jitsu, etc.
“You can imagine down the road DJ being a ONE flyweight world champion in mixed martial arts and a ONE flyweight kickboxing champion. These things are very, very possible. I do expect to see crossover fights in that regard.”