It really has happened – former ONE FC welterweight champion is now a UFC fighter, with former long-time UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson heading the other way to join the Asian promotion.
“Please join me in welcoming the #1 pound-for-pound king, @MightyMouse, to ONE Championship! His extraordinary achievements speak for themselves, but I am most impressed by his character, his values, and his life story. #GOAT,” ONE FC owner Chatri Sityodtong stated on Twitter on Saturday night.
“Thank you to @MightyMouse, @Benaskren, @ONEChampionship, @UFC, and @malkikawa for making the 1st trade in mixed martial arts history possible. #gratitude.”
‘Mighty Mouse’ later spoke out about the deal and said he was looking forward to working with ONE FC, believing that the culture in Asia compared with North America will suit his personality and his beliefs will prove to be a positive thing for him.
“I’m very, and I say with high praise, I’m very excited that I don’t have to go through that whole thing and (I can) be OK with myself as a true martial artist. And I felt I’ve always done that in my time here in North America,” Johnson told MMAJunkie. “And now that everybody does that, it’s in everybody’s DNA in Asia. It’s always about respect and promoting the fight the correct way as a true martial artist: We’re going to go in there and test our skills against each other. I’m very much looking forward to that way of promoting fights than it is in North America. That was something that I just didn’t fit in.
“People told me … there’s nothing worse than when I’m at the gym working out and somebody says, ‘Dude, if you want to sell more tickets and get your name on the (next box of) Frosted Flakes, you’ve got to talk more trash.’ That’s not who I am. I’m not a confrontational person. I do mixed martial arts because it’s something I love, and it helps me express my feelings. I’m an artist when I get to compete. Artists don’t run their mouth and attack people or cause a big scene. They focus and put their energy on what they love to do, which is being a martial artist. What I love to do, which is being a martial artist. So I’m very much looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, heading the other way, Askren has wasted no time in fitting in with the UFC’s way of promoting fights, already calling out a string of big name stars.
However, in reference to the official confirmation of the deal, he only had one small remark – referencing a previous feud between himself and UFC president Dana White.
“Hey BOSS, time to unblock me ;)” Askren wrote to White on Twitter.