After scoring five straight wins against the best flyweights in ONE Championship, Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov is cashing in.
The no. 2-ranked contender believes he’s ready for newly-crowned ONE Flyweight World Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson – a claim hard to deny right now.
Of all the fighters in the flyweight rankings, Akhmetov and no. 5-ranked Reece McLaren are the only fighters that Johnson hasn’t faced and beaten yet. Now, “The Kazakh” is calling his shot.
“Congratulations on a great fight and [winning the] championship belt, DJ. Nothing but respect, you are a legend of this sport. But you know I’m next in line to fight you,” Akhmetov said.
“After five victories in five fights, I am the top contender for the belt. I’m the only [contender] you haven’t met yet. Let’s have this fight when you’re ready, champ.”
Should Akhmetov get Johnson next, he’ll then get a crack at fulfilling a life-long dream. The 34-year-old had long admired Johnson, often wondering how he’d size up against him if they ever faced each other.
Given his recent run, though, the Tiger Muay Thai and Arlan MMA standout might not have to wait long for that moment.
“I have always looked up to Johnson. When I first started fighting in this sport, I was already watching him. When ‘Mighty Mouse’ signed a contract with ONE, I immediately let it be known that I could meet him with dignity in the ring. Many years have passed, and I think our time has come,” he said.
Should they meet in the Circle, Akhmetov is under no illusion that he’ll be the favorite, but he’s confident that he can beat the man who many believe to be MMA’s greatest of all time.
“Johnson’s title won’t play a big role. I’m not made of dough either. [I’m] a former ONE World Champion. Now I have a winning streak of five fights, and I’m second in the rankings,” Akhmetov said.
“I have a chance. This is MMA, where one punch can decide the outcome of a fight. I believe in myself and in my victory. This is my dream fight, and I don’t want to miss the chance to make myself known to the whole world.”
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