As ONE Championship prepares for the biggest event in its history, former flyweight king Adriano Moraes has been busy getting ready to headline it – in what could be the most significant fight of his career.
The Singapore-based promotion will venture to the US for the very first time with ONE Fight Night 10 this Friday, May 5, where “Mikinho” will meet ONE flyweight world champion Demetrious Johnson for the third time in the main event.
Both Moraes and Johnson have become symbols of their division – both in ONE and in the mixed martial arts world as a whole – and their rivalry is the stuff of legend.
Each man has scored a sensational knee knockout over the other, leaving the series tied at 1-1 and giving the rubber match an unbelievable level of hype.
Looking back on the past two fights, Moraes has bittersweet emotions. The Brazilian superstar became the first man to stop “Mighty Mouse” when they met in 2021, and he sees that win as the peak of his career.
But, in almost poetic fashion, “Mikinho” also acknowledges that the loss he suffered just under 18 months later represents the lowest point.
“I consider him the biggest rival of my career. Not only by the numbers but because he is regarded as the best in the world and also by our history in this division,” Moraes said.
“He was my greatest victory and, at the same time, my greatest defeat. This is why he is one of my greatest rivals in MMA.”
With the third and final act of their odyssey just days away, “Mikinho” recognizes how big of a statement it would be to score a second win over the man considered by many to be the MMA GOAT.
And to do it in front of a US crowd at ONE’s first bow on the North American stage would hold a special significance for the veteran fighter.
“We have been building the division for a few years, and I was the first champion of the ONE flyweight category,” Moraes said.
“I’m glad to be one of the pillars of the category and to be able to make the main event of the first ONE Championship event in the US. It is unheard of, and it will be very significant to beat him in the US.”
Moving away from the ceremony of the trilogy bout and focusing on the X’s and O’s, Moraes says that he has been keeping tabs on Johnson.
He wants the 13-time MMA world champion to be at his best for their curtain-closing battle, and he believes that is who he will be facing this Saturday.
“I have seen that he has been evolving a lot in jiu-jitsu, leaving his comfort zone, with training away from home,” the former champion said.
“I believe he will come into this fight in the best version possible, with more power too, because now he is the champion. I think he comes with a complete package in this fight.”