A constant quest for evolution helped Demetrious Johnson (23-4-1) become one of the greatest mixed martial artists in history.
But after his first career stoppage loss, the American legend is adding even more tools to his arsenal.
He fell short against "Mikinho" in their first world title matchup last year, and following some reflection, he decided to revitalize his training regimen at a new Brazilian jiu-jitsu school near his home in Washington state.
Doing so has allowed the 35-year-old to level up his grappling before rematching Moraes live in North American primetime.
"I'm always a person who searches for knowledge – whether that knowledge is going to make me a better athlete, or whether that knowledge is actually going to be able to be used in the fight itself," Johnson said. "So I went and signed up at Professor Yan McCane's place, GRPL Club, and I'm there working toward my black belt, and I'm just soaking up knowledge."
Although his home club is still the famous AMC Pankration, "Mighty Mouse" believes that going to a place where he can solely focus on Brazilian jiu-jitsu has created a new spark.
During those sessions, he can drill down further into grappling techniques, as opposed to simply working on various elements of his all-around MMA game.
"I'm actually going to a separate gym and getting instructions where it's like, 'Hey, today, we're going to (look at) deep half. How are we fixing a deep half?'" Johnson said. "That's how it was when I started mixed martial arts back in the day. That's what I think made me successful. What earned me the name ‘The GOAT' is I actually try to put myself in that one element of mixed martial arts – training and learning."
Johnson: 'I'm being more efficient in what I actually do'
In order to fit his new Brazilian jiu-jitsu work into his overall schedule, Johnson had to make some changes. The flyweight legend – known for his incredible gas tank – decided to swap out most of his strength and conditioning work for increased time on the mats.
"The approach in this camp, I was like, 'You know what, I'm not going to worry about my strength and conditioning because I never get tired,'" Johnson said. "I still go to the gym, but that's only for one day a week. I'm grappling four or five times a week now, and that's an hour-and-a-half to two hours. And then after that, I'll go do mixed martial arts for two hours. So now I'll put in more hours into training mixed martial arts than I was in my previous fights."
Though it was something of a gamble to switch up a routine that has worked for so long, Johnson believes it's paid off.
Above all, he feels ready to push grappling ace Moraes much harder on the ground when they rematch for the ONE flyweight world title.
"How does this play into the fight with Adriano?" Johnson asked. "Well, obviously, Adriano is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. My grappling conditioning has got significantly better because I'm being more efficient in what I actually do, which is fighting instead of going to the gym or lifting."
This story first published at ONEFC.com.