Former UFC Champions, Contenders Struggle To Make Dent In Asia’s ONE Championship

By One Championship 17 April 2021
Former UFC Champions, Contenders Struggle To Make Dent In Asia’s ONE Championship

Mixed martial artists often change organizations to test themselves against world-class fighters in other parts of the world – and that’s the case with a handful of former UFC fighters who’ve moved to ONE Championship.

However, four of the six athletes who’ve transitioned from the UFC to ONE Championship since 2018 have struggled to find the same success they previously enjoyed in the United States.

In fact, 63 percent of former UFC fighters who’ve moved to ONE have lost by stoppage, and 75 percent of them have lost at least once in general.

Just last week, former 12-time UFC Flyweight World Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson came up short in his attempt to dethrone longtime ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes.

In their main event clash at “ONE on TNT I,” Moraes scored a knockout win over the man many consider to be the GOAT via knee and ground-and-pound. It was the first KO loss of Johnson’s career. 

On the same night, fans saw the return of former UFC Lightweight World Champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, as he tried to topple #2-ranked lightweight Iuri Lapicus to earn a shot at ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian “The Warrior” Lee.

Unfortunately, Alvarez was disqualified for unintentional blows to the back of Lapicus’ head. But his setbacks began when he first joined ONE. In his debut, the American star suffered a first-round KO loss to #2-ranked lightweight Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE: A NEW ERA in March 2019.

Former UFC contenders Yushin “Thunder” Okami and “Super” Sage Northcutt faced similar hardships.

Okami suffered a KO loss to Kiamrian “Brazen” Abbasov at ONE: FOR HONOR in May 2019. Meanwhile, Northcutt got KO’d by Cosmo Alexandre at ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON that same month.

There are, however, two former UFC fighters who’ve fared well in ONE since making the transition – John “Hands of Stone” Lineker and Arjan “Singh” Bhullar.

Lineker has fought his way through ONE’s bantamweight division to become the #1-ranked contender underneath reigning divisional king Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes.

And Bhullar had a debut to remember, as he scored a unanimous decision win over former ONE Heavyweight World Title challenger Mauro “The Hammer” Cerilli.

The pair will try to be next UFC converts to win a ONE World Title after ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera, who’s been with ONE since 2014.

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