“Mighty Mouse,” the longtime Ultimate Fighting Championship 125-pound titleholder, won his new promotion’s flyweight Grand Prix just over a year ago, and with it, the right to challenge divisional champ Adriano Moraes. Johnson professes to be very content with One’s 135-pound flyweight limit and hydration policy, and this week’s title fight is the first step in what may be another long, legacy-building run.
While Johnson is a healthy favorite to wrest the title from Moraes at One Championship on TNT 1, win or lose he is guaranteed to disrupt the championship round robin in which Moraes, Kairat Akhmetov and Geje Eustaquio have passed the belt around like a hot potato since the division’s inception. While the three men are all closely matched — four of their five fights have gone to the judges, including two split decisions — Moraes is clearly the first among near-equals. It is fitting that he will be the man standing across from Johnson, ready to show himself either a placeholder, or a truly world-class fighter in his own right.
Here is the history of the One Championship flyweight title and the times it was won, lost or defended. It tells the story of a division that has enjoyed parity, and delivered a lot of fun fights, but may be about to become One’s glamour division.
Ben Duffy/Sherdog.com illustration