One Championship’s two recent high-profile acquisitions will take part in grand prix tournaments in the near future.
The Singapore-based promotion announced on Wednesday that it will hold a world grand prix for its flyweight and lightweight divisions. Demetrious Johnson, the former UFC flyweight king, and Eddie Alvarez, the ex-UFC lightweight champion, will headline the respective brackets. The entire field for the grand prix events was not announced.
Johnson came to One in a trade with the UFC that sent Ben Askren to the Las Vegas-based organization. “Mighty Mouse” set a promotional record for consecutive title defenses before relinquishing the belt to Henry Cejudo at UFC 227 this past August. Johnson is 27-3-1 over the course of his career with wins against the likes of Cejudo, Joseph Benavidez (twice), John Dodson (twice), Kyoji Horiguchi, Ian McCall, Norifumi Yamamoto and Ray Borg, to name a few.
“I spent seven years in North America fighting the best in the world. I’ve never traveled to Asia to fight the best. I think now is the perfect time to do it,” Johnson said. “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 completed his UFC deal with a second-round TKO loss to Dustin Poirier on July 28. He went 4-3 with one no contest during his Octagon tenure, capturing lightweight gold with a first-round TKO of Rafael dos Anjos in July 2016. Alvarez, a former Bellator titlist, is 29-6 as a pro and owns notable victories over Justin Gaethje, Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez, Michael Chandler, Patricky Freire, Pat Curran, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Shinya Aoki, among others.
“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.”