Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson have found their new home after a long stay in the world’s most prestigious mixed martial arts promotion…
The former UFC champions both signed with ONE Championship this year and are set to make their first appearance when the Singapore-based promotion hosts its Grand Prix Tournament in March 2019.
— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) December 20, 2018
Leaving The UFC
The former UFC and Bellator lightweight kingpin left the Nevada-based organization last October for a guaranteed eight-figure contract with ONE Championship. Alvarez shared that the UFC came close to his dream deal but its rival from Asia has offered him the biggest salary of his career.
“When I left the table at the UFC and said I wanted to go and explore, this is the deal I had in my mind. One made me a partner in their promotion. It was more of a partnership than, ‘Hey, come on as a fighter. Here’s your money to fight,’ and that’s it. They made me a true partner. It’s a package deal. It’s nothing like a normal MMA contract. They fully committed to me, and we are full committing back.”
Johnson, meanwhile, was part of the historic trade involving the two MMA organizations also in October. He was sent to ONE championship in exchange of its welterweight champion Ben Askren. The ‘Mighty Mouse’ is considered as one of the UFC’s greatest fighters of all time for being the inaugural flyweight champ and for having defended his belt 11 times.
“It feels good, but this wasn’t done by just me. There’s multiple people involved in it. First Round Management, ONE Championship, Chatri, Matt Hume, the UFC, so it was a collective, people coming together and making something happen. And even Ben Askren. So I think it’s a great thing, I think if people want to be able to be traded and compete in different organizations I think that we should have that option on the table.”
— Greg Rosenstein (@grosenstein) October 22, 2018
ONE FC Reveals Date And Venue For Alvarez’s and Johnson’s Debut
With Alvarez and Johnson now taking their talents to Asia, fans are excited to see if they can bring the same intensity and dominance they had in their previous UFC stints. But MMA fans will have to wait as the ex-UFC stars will not debut until March 2019.
ONE FC announced to the Associated Press on Wednesday that Alvarez and Johnson will make their highly-anticipated debut on March 31 at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan for the promotion’s Grand Prix tournaments.
For his first assignment, ‘The Underground King’ will square off with Timofey Nastyukhin, who is looking to bounce back from a loss to Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev in September. ‘The Mighty Mouse,’ meanwhile, is set to star in a flyweight contest against Japanese Yuya Wakamatsu.
ONE FC Grand Prix tournament Opening round
March 31, 2019, Tokyo Japan
Eddie Alvarez vs. Timofey Nastyukhin
Demetrious Johnson vs. Yuya Wakamatsu
The 32-year old Alvarez last saw actions at UFC on Fox last July, where he suffered a technical knockout loss to Dustin Poirier. Johnson’s last outing also ended in a sour note as Henry Cejudo snapped his 11-straight title defense at UFC 227 to snatch the flyweight championship.
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson)