If you think Demetrious Johnson is going to avoid striking with Rodtang Jitmuangnon, think again.
Johnson, the former UFC flyweight champion, promises he will exchange with Jitmuangnon and test his striking against the ONE flyweight muay Thai champion when two compete in a special rules bout at ONE X on Dec. 5.
The contest is set for four, three-minute rounds alternating between muay Thai and MMA rules. The first round will be under muay Thai rules.
During the two muay Thai rounds, Johnson (30-4-1) has no intention of running from Jitmuangnon and simply looking to survive until the MMA rounds. The 35-year-old says he is out to fight fire with fire.
“I know he’s going to come out guns a-blazing. You know your boy is going to come out guns a-blazing,” Johnson told MMA Junkie Radio. “Now, is there a strategic way I’m going to about it, maybe I should avoid him in the first round? No, f*ck that. I’m going to test my skills.
“I’ve seen him get hit, and nothing faces this man – hence his nick name ‘Ironman.’ I’ve seen him get kicked clean in the neck. … Rodtang is as tough as it gets when it comes to standup. I think me taking this fight just shows I’m ready to put on a show for the fans.”
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This is the first time Johnson will step outside of the MMA rule set to compete in a professional fight. Johnson, who held the UFC flyweight title from 2012 to 2018, is just focused on having fun and trying new things in his career. He believes he’s past the stage of worrying too much about the trajectory of his career and wants to simply test himself.
“At the end of the day, I’m at the point of my career that it’s just about having fun and enjoying my journey instead of putting stress on myself like, ‘OK, we have to do this right, we have to win this fight, and this and that,’” Johnson said.
“I’ve done that for a long time in my career since 2011. Now we’re 10 years into my professional career and it’s like, ‘Hey, you want to fight Rodtang? Sure, why not? Send the contract. Boom.’ Why stress myself? F*ck all that. I’m way too old for that.”
Photos: Demetrious Johnson through the years
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