ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong has confirmed the debuts of its Lightweight and Flyweight World Grand Prix. More than a month ago, the Singapore-based martial arts organization signed former UFC champions Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, 32, of Parkland, Washington, United States and Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, 34, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.
Taking place at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on March 31, 2018, “ONE: A New Era” will mark Johnson’s ONE Championship debut. It will also be the first ever event of the organization to take place in Japan.
Johnson and Alvarez will compete in the flyweight and lightweight divisions, respectively, in ONE Championship’s inaugural eight-man mixed martial arts tournaments. The former has also joined EVOLVE Fight Team, the official fight team of EVOLVE MMA, a chain of martial arts academies founded in 2009 by Chatri.
From 2012 to 2017, Johnson rode an 11-bout winning streak. He was the first holder of the UFC Flyweight Championship title and held the record of the most consecutive title defenses in the UFC.
However, Johnson lost the title on August 4, 2018. He was dethroned by Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo, 31, of Phoenix via split decision at “UFC 227.”
After the loss to Cejudo, Johnson was traded from the UFC to ONE Championship in exchange for former ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben “Funky” Askren, 34, of Phoenix, Arizona, United States. The deal was the first of its kind in the history of MMA.
Now, Johnson is looking forward to competing against reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, 29, of Baguio City, Philippines and former champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes, 29, of Brasilia, Federal District, Brazil. Johnson said, “I know Geje and Moraes are beasts and I’m looking forward to getting into the cage with them.”
Also expected to compete in the inaugural Flyweight World Grand Prix are Gianni Subba, 26, of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Danny “The King” Kingad, 22, of Baguio City, Philippines, Reece “Lightning” McLaren, 27, of Toowomba, Queensland, Australia, Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov, 31, of Almaty, Kazakhstan and Riku “The Outsider” Shibuya, 33, of Tokyo, Japan.
Meanwhile, here is a recent interview with the reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion: