Why Demetrious Johnson is considering retirement despite still feeling in his prime
Demetrious Johnson arguably is ONE Championship’s biggest name, holds a title, and thinks he’s still in his physical prime.
But the living legend is considering walking away from the sport. Johnson (25-4-1), ONE’s flyweight champion and one of the most dominant champions in UFC history, is contemplating retirement.
The 36-year-old retained his belt this past Friday when he beat Adriano Moraes (20-5) in their trilogy bout in the ONE Fight Night 10 main event in Colorado. That night, “Mighty Mouse” let the crowd know it might’ve been the last of him.
“It’s based on business. As a competitor, I want to keep on fighting until the wheels fall off. But that competitive nature can get you in trouble,” Johnson told MMA Junkie. “You can stay too long and suffer some real bad damage. So I just don’t know. I’m just here thinking. I haven’t thought about it yet.”
Johnson has yet to make a decision and is not in a hurry to make one, either. He said he recently spoke to Georges St-Pierre and Urijah Faber to seek advice on retirement.
Johnson said there are many factors that are contributing to his doubts, but not feeling his best or game to fight the elite at ONE championship is not one of them.
“Oh, yeah, (I’m still in my prime),” Johnson said. “I think prime wise, it’s based on the mindset, your mental (game), your fight IQ and your body. So far, my body feels fine.”
Demetrious Johnson def. Adriano Moraes at ONE Fight Night 10: Best photos
At this point in his life, fighting consumes plenty of time, and Johnson isn’t sure if it’s worth it. That’s a big reason why his MMA career may come to an end.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” Johnson said. “How much more does an athlete have to do? Do I want to start focusing on other things? Because when you get ready for these fights, I give myself eight to 12 weeks.
“This training camp was really long, and people don’t realize that. I was in Arizona in February training with Henry Cejudo and his team – kind of like pre-camp. I like to call it the pre-camp to camp. I was out there, I came back home, and then I did the end of February pretty much all the way to the end of April (in Washington), and then I went to Colorado and did (the fight). So that’s a huge chunk that I’m taking away from other activities with my family or business or other things I can do outside of fighting. It’s a lot.
“With that being said, if I want to focus on doing something else and be successful, I need to be able to use that same energy that I use in my camps in order to be successful in other ventures in my life.”
Money is a factor, as welll. After all, it’s prize fighting. Johnson said higher pay would help keep him around.
But even then, it might not cut it.
“Even then, I still have to decide,” Johnson said. “Money talks, but then after that I have to sit down and say, ‘Well, do I want to do another training camp?’ How does my coach feel? ‘Do you want to do another training camp?’ It’s not just up to me. For me to be successful, it takes a village.”
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