Demetrious Johnson respects the game of Jake and Logan Paul

one championship
Credit: ONE Championship

There are many in the combat sports realm that have no love for the success of Youtube influencers like Jake and Logan Paul. Former Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight legend Demetrious Johnson is not one of them.

The brothers Paul have developed a great deal of heat from competitors in both mixed martial arts and boxing. They are viewed as social media influencers who have used their celebrity fame to pull in million dollar paydays in the fight game, without paying dues. Essentially, skipping the years of toiling away at their craft in the gym, and making little to nothing as they climbed the industry ladder.

However, current ONE Championship flyweight, and the promotion’s reigning flyweight grand prix champion, sees things differently. From his perspective as a lifelong athlete, he believes competitors like the Paul brothers are putting in the work necessary to reach a performance standard that could be on the level of the pay bracket they have so quickly reached.

Demetrious Johnson has respect for the Paul Bros. game

demetrious johnson
Credit: ONE Championship

“When you have unlimited money, when you have millions of dollars and you don’t have to do a 9-5 job, you have the best access to the trainers, you have the best access to nutrition, you train for eight weeks for somebody, you are gonna become the product of something,” Johnson told MMAJunkie via ONE Championship. “So people think that Jake Paul, Logan Paul, they just got off the couch playing video games, that’s not the f*cking case. These guys are training like full-time athletes. These guys train better than some of the professional athletes that have been in the game for five or 10 years.”

If any fighter were to have a distaste for the greenbacks the Paul’s and other celebrities turned fighters are making, it would seem like the man known as “Mighty Mouse” would be at the top of the list. For so long, he was the gold standard of MMA performance yet many in the industry felt during that time he did not receive the sort of marketing push from the UFC that lesser skilled talents were given. However, that experience has not made Johnson, 34, resentful of these fighting influencers.

Rather it taught him the value of branding. And he respects that these neophyte combatants have strategically used their brand to succeed at the goal of all prizefighters. To make money, and a lot of it.

“I support the YouTubers, the TikTokers and the thing is, at the end of the day it’s about making money,” Johnson said. “Those guys have such a big following and a lot of the athletes complain how Jake Paul, Logan Paul, those guys are making million-dollar paydays and us athletes have been in this sport for years and will never see a payday like that. The reality is your brand and your likeness or your following is what sells, and I’ve learned that from when I was in [the UFC] and it’s proven to this day.”

Johnson last competed in April, at ONE on TNT I, in a losing effort against reigning ONE Championship flyweight titleholder Adriano Moraes. It was only the Washington natives second loss over the last nine years.

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