If there’s anyone in the ONE Championship roster who has a deep knowledge in facing both Demetrious Johnson and Adriano Moraes, it has to be Danny Kingad, who once fell victim against both elite fighters in the past.
The Team Lakay star was just one of the millions who witnessed Johnson’s poetic win over Moraes last month to become the new ONE Flyweight World Champion.
Johnson’s flying knee finish was so quick and mesmerizing it’s almost difficult to describe what went wrong for Moraes.
Well, Kingad might just have the answer.
The no.4-ranked flyweight contender believes Moraes didn’t prepare all that well in his striking game heading into his rematch with Johnson.
“I think that Adriano didn’t prepare his striking as much as he did in the other aspects of MMA. We have to remember that it was his striking that pushed him to victory when he first fought DJ,” Kingad said.
“DJ has a more grounded approach to his fights, but that night [ONE on Prime Video 1] we saw DJ throw some pinpoint punches. I think Adriano didn’t expect that DJ would get him with his striking.”
Johnson, who was on the defensive in the first two rounds, found his groove in the third and it was in the fourth that he decided to finish off Moraes.
After landing a stiff right straight that wobbled Moraes, Johnson flew in for a thunderous flying knee that was eerily similar to the one that “Mikinho” threw in their first fight at ONE on TNT I.
Moraes got the better of Johnson in their first fight in April 2021 when he knocked out “Mighty Mouse” with a grounded knee strike in the second round.
Kingad once challenged Moraes for flyweight gold at ONE: Legends of the World in November 2017. He even went the distance against Johnson in the final of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix at ONE: Century Part I in October 2019.
This experience gives Kingad such a unique perspective on how both Moraes and Johnson operate inside the Circle. What Kingad didn’t expect, though, was how Johnson took the win.
“I shouldn’t have been that impressed because I felt that DJ was gonna win, but wow did he do it in such an incredible way. I was really surprised with how he finished the match. He’s the GOAT [greatest of all time] for a reason!”
As for a rematch against Johnson, Kingad said it might take a little while before he gets another crack at the American legend.
Kingad, as the fourth-ranked flyweight, believes that he has to win a couple more fights if he wants to set up a rematch against Johnson.
There’s also the flyweight’s pecking order which has three people ahead of him.
A trilogy bout between Johnson and Moraes, who’s not the no.1-ranked contender, isn’t a perplexing idea. Kairat Akhmetov, the no.2-ranked contender, immediately called out the world champion following the conclusion of ONE on Prime Video 2.
“I think I need two or three wins before I can challenge for the world title, but it still depends on ONE. DJ just won the belt so I think the athletes under him in the rankings have to put in the work to earn that world title shot.”