UFC news, rumors: Eddie Alvarez, Demetrious Johnson set for ONE Championship debuts

It’s been quite an end to the year for Asian MMA promotion ONE Championship, snagging two prominent former UFC champions to add to its roster. First, ONE emerged victorious for the services of free agent lightweight Eddie Alvarez, and then it was a part of history being involved in the first-ever MMA “trade” that saw UFC land undefeated welterweight Ben Askren while ONE now has former record-setting flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. Now we know at least how the two former UFC stars will make their debuts for their new home. 

ONE Championship announced on Wednesday that both Alvarez (29-6) and Johnson (27-3-1) will debut for the promotion as part of lightweight and flyweight world grand prix tournaments, respectively. Neither dates for the tournaments nor opponents were revealed at the press conference in Singapore. 

Both were in attendance for the announcement on Wednesday and seem eager to get to work for their new employer. Johnson noted that he’s excited about the opportunity to get to compete against the best flyweights Asia has to offer. 

“I spent seven years in North America fighting the best in the world,” Johnson said. “I’ve never traveled to Asia to fight the best. 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.”

More UFC news, rumors

  • With Daniel Cormier retaining his UFC heavyweight championship last weekend with an easy submission victory over Derrick Lewis, all eyes have now turned to a defense against a returning Brock Lesnar, presumably early next year before the double champ plans to hang up the gloves. Well, that fight may not be that much of a guarantee anymore, despite all the hype. Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting reports that Lesnar has signed a new short-term deal with WWE as the universal champion, and while he is able to take a UFC fight under the terms, it’s not exactly set in stone that he will. 
  • Former two-time UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony “Rumble” Johnson seems to be mulling an exit from retirement … but not to return to 205 pounds. In an instagram post, Johnson revealed that he’s eyeing a potential UFC return in the heavyweight division. Johnson announced his abrupt retirement following his UFC 210 loss to Cormier in April 2017, and has only competed at heavyweight once in his career, a 2013 decision loss to Andrei Arlovski for the World Series of Fighting promotion. 
  • We’re generally never presented with an opportunity to discuss politics here, but today provides an exception. Former MMA fighter Sharice Davids, who once tried out for the “Ultimate Fighter” series, was victorious on Tuesday in her bid for Congress. Davids defeated Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder for the 3rd Congressional District seat in the state of Kansas. The victory is most notable, though, because Davids now becomes the first openly-gay person to serve on Congress for Kansas, as well as the first Native American as a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. 

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