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Demetrious Johnson motivated for Adriano Moraes rematch: 'I have to prove I can beat this man'

'Mighty Mouse' can't wait for another world title shot at 'Mikinho' at ONE 161 on Aug. 26.
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Demetrious Johnson vows not to make the same mistake again when he gets his second shot at ONE flyweight world champion Adriano Moraes.

The American MMA legend will rematch Moraes for the world title in the main event of ONE 161, which airs live in U.S. primetime on Friday, Aug. 26.

It's a golden chance for "Mighty Mouse" to bounce back from the first knockout loss of his career, and he plans to implement a smarter gameplan this time around at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. 

Above all, that means not rushing, even though he generally prefers to push the pace. Instead, the 12-time MMA world champion will be careful to avoid any critical mistakes.

"I know I have to be patient," Johnson said. "Before I fought (Moraes), I watched his fights, and I thought, 'OK, he never really engages.' He's always used his movement or whatnot. And then fighting him, I realized he really didn't engage because I was chasing him the whole time. 

"Then watching him (successfully defend his belt against) Yuya Wakamatsu, he didn't really engage. So this time, I just got to be on my Ps and Qs and just be more mindful of not overcommitting."

In their first world title contest at ONE on TNT I last year, Johnson's eagerness to bring the action played a significant part in his defeat to "Mikinho."

He got caught with a thunderous uppercut from the Brazilian in round 2, and the fight ended with a devastating grounded knee shortly afterward.

But while some athletes might be fazed by the prospect of challenging the same opponent again so soon, Johnson sees things differently.

He was the heavy favorite heading into the last matchup with Moraes, but after falling short, he feels like the pressure is off.

"It's another tough (fight)," Johnson said. "He's a great athlete. He always comes prepared. He's always in great condition. And then on that day, I'm just going to go out there and fight and see (what happens).

"I mean, at the end of the day, I have nothing to lose. I've just lost, damn it. We've both proven so much in the sport of mixed martial arts. For me, my challenge is I haven't beat him yet, so I have a challenge in front of me. I have to go prove I can beat this man."

Johnson: 'I'm always striving for perfection'

While Johnson is widely considered the MMA GOAT, he's always looking to develop himself and work on new areas of his all-around game.

That's no different this time as the 35-year-old prepares for his ONE flyweight world title rematch with Moraes at ONE 161.

In fact, "Mighty Mouse" has found some new motivation by focusing more on grappling ahead of his matchup with one of the top Brazilian jiu-jitsu talents in MMA.

"Training is going great," Johnson said. "I already feel like I'm in great shape. I will say the biggest thing is because I joined a jiu-jitsu school. And now I'm training pure jiu-jitsu. Usually, when I'm in not in fight camp, the gym that I trained at is so far away. It's basically an hour and 15 minutes away.

"I found a legit jiu-jitsu gym under a new professor Yan McCane – a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt for 10 years. (He's an) absolute monster. Very knowledgeable. Now, I've been doing a lot more jiu-jitsu because it's eight minutes from my house and a gold mine for me because it kind of breathes life back into my development."

It's clear that "Mighty Mouse" is hungry to show that he can evolve further as a competitor despite such a long tenure at the top of the sport.

With that in mind, the No. 1-ranked flyweight contender hopes to produce a flawless performance against "Mikinho" and approach every battle like it's his most important one yet.

"As I said, I'm working my ground game, working on my standup," Johnson said. "I'm making sure when I step in the circle on August 26 in Singapore, I'm the best version of myself. That's what I'm always striving for. I'm always striving for perfection, and I just hope that I go out there and execute and not make any mistakes.

"Every fight that I fight from here on out is always going to be my biggest fight, whether it's for a world title or not."

This story first published at ONEFC.com.