The first meeting ended with a shocking knockout of Johnson as the Brazilian retained the ONE Flyweight World Championship after a crushing knee on the ground put Johnson out. Since that meeting, both men picked up key wins to set up the rematch.
After having that experience, Johnson feels he is better prepared for the second meeting. And it is nothing specifically tactical that he is most concerned about.
Rather, Johnson recognizes the length and size of Moraes as one of his biggest assets inside the Circle. And he is not thinking beyond the bout for what a victory would mean. Everything is focused on the moment.
"It's just another fight; it's a brand new fight, right? You know, the feeling I process can be a little bit different. I think the biggest thing is Adriano is just much bigger, longer. So that's the biggest problem, which is just crossing the distance," said Johnson.
"I haven't really thought about what the belt would mean because every single time I won in my championships, in my World Grand Prix, I'll go back to my room and put the belt down on the ground. And I'm like, alright, guys. Let's go out, let's go make some memories, you know what I mean?"
Perhaps the biggest change for Johnson has come with a rededication to his grappling.
Johnson has joined Professor Yan McCane at GRPL Club Jiu Jitsu in Washington to work on his ground game. Johnson feels like the return to specific instruction has better equipped him for the battle with Moraes and reinvigorated his love for knowledge of martial arts.
"My grappling conditioning has got significantly better because I'm being more efficient in what I actually do, which is fighting instead of going to the gym or lifting, you know. I'm grappling like four or five days a week now. And that's an hour and a half to two hours," said Johnson.
"And then after that, I'll go do mixed martial arts for two hours. So now I'll put in more hours into training mixed martial arts than I was in my previous fights because I'm actually going to a separate gym and getting instructions where it's like, hey, today, we're going to deep half, how are we fixing a deep half?"
"And that's how it was when I started mixed martial arts back in the day, that's what I think made me successful, what gave me the name, or people call me the GOAT is like, I actually try to put myself in that one element of mixed martial arts and training and learning."
With the renewed fire and greater knowledge of the task at hand, Johnson is ready for whatever may come his way in the rematch.
There was no stern prediction from the flyweight challenger. Johnson merely plans to step inside the Circle and give it his all in an attempt to claim an elusive World Championship that would only extend his legacy of being the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
"I know he's prepared, I'm prepared, and we'll go out there, fight my ass off and see where it goes," said "Mighty Mouse."
ONE on Prime Video 1: Moraes vs. Johnson II airs on Prime Video at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT live on Friday, August 26.
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