Article

The Two Fastest Fighters In The World

“I think he’ll find that I can match him in speed or maybe even be faster than he is. We’re both explosive so it’ll be fireworks when we’re in there together.”
Demetrious Johnson is beginning to stand out in the UFC bantamweight division and it’s not just because of the uncommon spelling of his first name or his cartoon character alias. The Matt Hume protégé dealt New York’s Nick Pace the first loss of his career, and followed that up by stunning red-hot Damacio Page. At UFC 126 the speedy 24-year-old will try to play spoiler once again when he collides with Japanese sensation Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto (18-3, 1 NC), arguably Asia’s most popular mixed martial artist.

It’s hard to imagine this matchup being anything other than fast-paced and action-packed. MMA fans have waited years for the ultra-explosive Yamamoto to showcase his sizzling skill set in the U.S., particularly inside of the Octagon, home of the world’s premier 135- and 145-pound fighters. While February 5 will be a monumental day for Yamamoto, it will also harbor the greatest opportunity of Johnson’s three-year career.

“He’s one of the biggest stars in Japan. He’s like the Manny Pacquiao of Japan,” Johnson, a.k.a. “Mighty Mouse,” said of his fiery opponent, a knockout artist who has triumphed over the likes of Genki Sudo, Royler Gracie, Rani Yahya, Caol Uno, Jeff Curran and Bibiano Fernandes, among others. “He’s a good striker, very athletic. Everybody sees him as a legend of the sport – which he is – and I want to test myself against him.”

Other than a nine-year age gap (Kid is 33, Johnson is 24), there’s an abundance of similarities between the two fighters. Yamamoto is 5’4”, a mere inch taller than Johnson. Both are relatively undersized bantamweights with impressive wrestling credentials. Yamamoto is the son of an Olympic wrestler, won multiple state titles in high school wrestling and has competed in world-class wrestling competitions. Johnson finished state runner-up in high school. One of the most interesting subplots of their battle involves speed. Yamamoto is super-quick and has used that superior speed to devastate and abuse the opposition, sometimes with punches and kicks, other times with breathtaking slams. Johnson, 12-1, is exceptionally fast himself.
 
“I’ll probably be the quickest person he’s ever come up against because he usually fights up a weight class at 145 or 155,” Johnson said. “I think he’ll find that I can match him in speed or maybe even be faster than he is. We’re both explosive so it’ll be fireworks when we’re in there together.”

His trainer, Matt Hume, went a step further, billing the bout as a contest between “the two fastest fighters in the world.”

“At the end of the day I think people are going to decide that the fastest fighter in the world is Demetrious Johnson and Kid Yamamoto is the second fastest,” Hume said. “It’s going to be different for Kid in that he doesn’t have the speed (advantage) to exploit in this fight.”

When he upended highly-ranked Damacio Page last month, Johnson’s wrestling proved the difference. Adding to the feat, the Washington state fighter had accepted the fight on only three weeks’ notice.

“It was a great victory for me.”

This time around, Johnson will have the benefit of a full training camp. There is much to be gained, but Hume is advising his fighter to keep it all in perspective.

“This fight is huge and just another day at the same time,” Hume said. “It’s like the old adage in football: You’ve been in the end zone before, so when you score a touchdown act like you’ve been there before. We expect Demetrious to win the fight and keep moving forward in the UFC. But it would be an incredible accomplishment because Kid was at one point considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world by a lot of people. He is definitely the most popular fighter in Japan, maybe the most popular fighter in Asia. So it would be a huge win for D.J., but at the same time we just expect to go take care of business.”

Johnson declined to offer a prediction, and said he wants victory for its own sake, not for the money and notoriety it might bring.

“I’ll just go out there and do my best,” he said. “I love to fight. When I fight I don’t go in there for a paycheck, I go in there to have fun and just do my thing. I’m still just Joe Schmoe out on the streets just like everybody else and I like it like that.”

 

Watch Past Fights

미디어

최근
밴텀급 랭킹 4위 아만다 누네스가 UFC 200 대회에서 챔피언 미샤 테이트에게 도전한다. 누네스는 니나 안사로프가 자신이 정상에 이르도록 어떻게 도움을 줬는지, 타이틀 도전을 어떻게 준비하는지 이야기한다.
2016. 6. 29
세이지 노스컷이 UFC 192 대회에서 프란시스코 트레비노에게 UFC 최초의 KO승을 거둔다. 노스컷은 7월 9일 엔리케 마틴을 상대로 UFC 200 대회에 나선다.
2016. 6. 29
UFC 203 대회, 스티페 미오치치가 홈타운 클리블랜드에서 알리스타 오브레임을 상대로 헤비급타이틀 1차 방어전츨 치른다. 티켓 판매 중.
2016. 6. 29
UFC 매치메이커 조 실바, 션 쉘비가 역대 최고의 대회로 주목받고 있는 UFC 200 대회 대진에 대해 이야기한다. 또한 알도-에드가, 벨라스케스-브라운 대결 등도 함께 다룬다.
2016. 6. 29