Multiple-time UFC World Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson from the Evolve Fight Team is one of those MMA World Champions we can all learn a thing or two from. He’s been a consummate professional throughout his mixed martial arts career, and he’s regarded as one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the history of the sport.
DJ does it all. Striking, submissions, and wrestling. He dominated the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Flyweight division for years before he was traded to ONE Championship as part of a historical trade between two of the biggest MMA promotions on the planet. Johnson made his ONE Championship debut against Yuya Wakamatsu in early 2019. He started his ONE Championship tour on a positive note, submitting Wakamatsu minutes into the second round of the contest.
So, why is Mighty Mouse able to consistently perform at such a high level? What does he know that the rest of us don’t? This article will explore the habits and philosophies that have made Johnson the exceptional fighter that he is.
1) Your habits are what define you
We all have our habits, but we often fail to acknowledge how these things shape our lives. Your habits are what make you who you are. For example, if you are a hard working person, that is a habit. It is something you do because it makes you feel good or because you think it is the right thing to do. Given how consistent most people are, such a habit would translate into anything you do in life.
It should come as no surprise to you that those who have positive habits tend to be more successful in life, while those with negative ones often have a harder time reaching their goals.
12x UFC World Champion Demetrious Johnson is an excellent example of how vital your habits are. DJ was willing to put in any amount of work that got him closer to his dreams. He continued working at a factory even after he was given a contract. His coach Matt Hume tried to get him to quit his job and focus only on MMA, but DJ wasn’t ready for the leap.
“I was thinking that that was my career,” Johnson said during a UFC media day. “In the beginning of your mixed martial arts career, you’re not making good money. Obviously, it wasn’t good money in my eyes. I was a man who had my own house, I had insurance, I had bills. So, you only fight twice a year, you might make $30,000 — if that, if you’re successful. You gotta pay taxes, you gotta pay your coaches, all that stuff. So for me, I felt like I needed a supplemental income.”
The awe-inspiring part of all this is how DJ managed to become one of the pound-for-pound best MMA fighters in the world, despite having such a full plate. Hume says he’s never worked with anyone else like the Mighty Mouse.
“There are other fighters and other champions who have great work ethic like he does,” Hume explained. “There are other fighters and champions that have incredible athleticism like he does. And there are other champions that are very technical like he is in all aspects and are well-rounded. But it’s rare to have someone that is at the highest level in all of those things, and that’s what separates D.J.”
The moral of this story; good things will happen to you if you are willing to put in the work. Always remember that the best things in life do not come easy. Johnson could have simply stuck to his tough warehouse job and given up on his MMA dreams. He didn’t, because he was willing to do whatever it took to make his dreams a reality.
2) Always strive for balance
Martial arts has taken multiple-time UFC World Champion Demetrious Johnson from the EVOLVE Fight Team places he never thought he would go and given him the life of his dreams. Support Demetrious as he makes his ONE Championship debut on 31 March at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo!
Posted by Evolve MMA on Tuesday, March 19, 2019
There have been other MMA fighters that are as good as Johnson is when it comes to striking. There are others who are just as good as he is when it comes to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and there are others who can wrestle as well as he can. What is rare are fighters who are as well-rounded as Johnson is.
Johnson’s complete game is why many in the MMA community still feel he’s one of the pound-for-pound greats. He’s exceptional at every area a fight can take place, and he seamlessly transitions from one phase of fighting to the next.
It comes down to Johnson’s mentality when it comes to training. He does not base his training camps on what he enjoys; he consistently covers all the different aspects of fighting. It’s why he can grapple with the best grapplers in the world and strike with Muay Thai champions.
“You look into an encyclopedia and ask what fighter can do any type of martial art at a high-caliber level, my picture will show up,” DJ proudly explains about his well-rounded fighting skills.
During your martial arts training, there are certainly going to be things you like more than others. Never give in to the urge to spend most of your time working on techniques you enjoy. To be the best martial artist you can be, you need to make it a habit to train positions and techniques you do not enjoy. It ensures you do not have any gaping holes in your game. For example, if you absolutely hate it when your back is taken while grappling, don’t try to avoid it every time you train. Matter of fact, ask your training partners to start from that position, so you can work on your defense or escape to a more advantageous position. That way to don’t end up with a glaring weakness in your game.
This is often the difference between great competitors and mediocre ones. DJ wasn’t born being good at striking, grappling or wrestling; he simply dedicated a lot of his time to perfecting these combat styles. It has paid off for Mighty Mouse as he remains one of the greatest active fighters in mixed martial arts.
“I’m very well-rounded. It’s mixed martial arts,” Johnson bluntly explains.
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