Despite the clear damage one of those punches did, Demetrious Johnson still thinks that kneeing a downed opponent should be legal.
The rule is illegal in the UFC, where we recently saw Petr Yan lose his bantamweight title to Aljamain Sterling after he kneed him while grounded, resulting in a disqualification.
However, at the ONE Championship, where Johnson is currently competing, it is legal. “Mighty Mouse” tweeted his support for the ruleset right after the Yan-Sterling fight, suggesting that such a hit should be allowed.
Ironically, Johnson (30-4-1) was on the receiving end with a knee to the head while on the ground when he was knocked out by flyweight champion Adriano Moraes (19-3) at ONE on Wednesday. It was the first time Johnson had been knocked out in his career. But despite the loss, he has no problem with ONE’s rule set.
“I like these rules,” Johnson said after the fight. “Like I said, it’s a progression of a fight. I fell backwards. I was coming up on a hook, Adriano hit with his knee, the fight was over, it’s over, I don’t have any more concussions. It was just done, and it was a different position than I had been in. Adriano did a good job of using his length. He stretched me out completely and hit the knee. “
Johnson also recalled that in his first ONE Championship match he also used the same resource as Moraes.
“Like I said, the fight ended. I wasn’t stalling one bit. I was trying to get up and fight, and they hit me with one knee. My first ONE Championship fight, I did it to Yuya Wakamatsu and ended up winning. The rule is intended to maintain the progress of the fight and put an end to it. So if Adriano hadn’t been able to land that knee, yes, he would still have been in that fight, so he would have had to do something totally different. I am totally satisfied with what happened. I don’t think, ‘that rule should be dropped’. That was the rule, Adriano used it to his advantage and I was on the other side of the stick ”.
After the loss, Johnson expressed an interest in potentially venturing into a kickboxing match. While he hasn’t necessarily given up his quest for the belt, the former UFC flyweight king likes being able to experiment with different alternatives at ONE.
“One of the reasons I came to ONE Championship is that I have options. If I want to do a kickboxing match, I can do it. Obviously, yes, I can go back to mixed martial arts and get back up to a title shot, but I’m going to go home and relax and ‘What do I want to do next? Would you like to try your luck at kickboxing? Maybe I try kickboxing and go out and get beat up, but at the end of the day, it’s all about testing and exploring. You get a career. You have a career, and I want to make the most of it. To be able to say that I have done professional kickboxing under a championship would be great. So I’m going to go home, relax, let my body heal and go from there.
Here’s the latest video from our YouTube channel, discussing the situation in more detail and explaining the rules around illegal kneeing.