Tonight, UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson will get another chance to showcase the skills which have won him six straight MMA bouts, including four successful defenses of his UFC title.
Johnson, who lives and fights out of the Seattle, WA area, may be better known as a dominant grappler, but he has been known to throw a kick or two as part of his rapid-fire striking attack.
Maybe we won’t see as many kicks tonight as an appearance from his hometown’s Major League Soccer club, Sounders FC. It’s a raucous atmosphere in Seattle as Sounders supporters, who proudly play their anthem, “Sounders ‘Till I Die,” late in the second half of their home games. Johnson may not expect the same support either, traveling from his hometown in the Seattle area to serve as headliner in Las Vegas, against California’s Chris Cariaso.
But in a recent interview with USA Today, Johnson echoed the sentiment– and he’s not worried about flying under the fans’ radar.
While many MMA stars travel far from their respective hometowns to train, Johnson says there’s no need to change his winning formula.
“That’s my spot, where I’ve been my entire career,” Johnson says, referring to his home base of Matt Hume’s AMC & Pankration, just east of Seattle. “The only other place I trained was in Hawaii, but that was at our sister school HMC; and the master there was Matt Hume’s coach (Haru Shimanishi). The other was Singapore; Matt Hume thought it would be a good idea to train there for a while with some of the Thai’s. Other than that, I’m in Seattle ’til the day I die.”
The man they call “Mighty Mouse,” for all his success, just hasn’t quite broken through to become a star yet. It seems there’s been more interest in Conor McGregor’s undercard fight with Dustin Porier tonight than this main event.
Regarding the lack of media attention — Johnson isn’t worried, as long as he keeps winning.
“I do want to be a big star, but if that means I have to be somebody that I’m not and be out of character, that’s not going to fit my brand,” Johnson says. “That’s not who I am. For me, this is a combat sport and I’m about fighting.”