ONE Championship will throw recent-acquisitions Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez into the fire, as both take part in separate grand prix events beginning in 2019.
Johnson, a former UFC flyweight champion who set a promotional record with 12 consecutive title defenses, shifted to the Asia-based promotion in a deal that also sent Ben Askren to the UFC.
“I spent seven years in North America fighting the best in the world. I’ve never travelled to Asia to fight the best,” Johnson said. “I think now is the perfect time to do it. Now that they just announced a World Grand Prix for the flyweight division, it’s has always been a dream of mine to actually compete in Asia in a World Grand Prix. The biggest thing that you can expect from me for coming over here to compete in Asia is that I’ll do my best. I am taking no shortcuts.”
Alvarez, meanwhile, signed a deal with ONE as a free agent. He is a former UFC and Bellator champion, looking to become the first to win gold in all three promotions.
“It was in Asia where I made a name for myself and started my career. Everything has come full circle for me,” Alvarez said. “I can’t say how excited and grateful I am to be part of the ONE Championship family. This is where true martial arts lives. I’ve been away from Asia so long. It’s good to be back. I feel like I found my way again with ONE Championship. I can respect my opponents, and I can go in and fight like a man. I know my lifelong martial arts journey will be truly appreciated here.”
No exact dates or what other fighters will take part in the grand prix tournaments were made known by the promotion at this time.