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Demetrious Johnson Sets the Record Straight on UFC Exit and Joe Rogan's Role

The trade that sent Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson from the UFC to ONE Championship in 2018 raised eyebrows and rumors, particularly concerning Joe Rogan's involvement. However, in a recent appearance on the JAXXON podcast, Johnson debunked the hearsay, shedding light on the realities behind his career-altering move.

Addressing the speculation that Rogan influenced Dana White to orchestrate the trade, Johnson clarified, saying, 

"I talked to Joe Rogan and Joe Rogan said, ‘Naw, I had nothing to do with it.’" Rogan, a fervent admirer of Johnson's skill set, reportedly advocated exploring the trade with Ben Askren but didn't wield influence in steering the deal.

Reflecting on his UFC tenure, Johnson recognized both commendation and criticism from Dana White. He acknowledged that despite his prowess, the flyweight division didn’t capture the same popularity then as it does today, attributing the surge in attention to the impact of social media and viral moments.

Since joining ONE Championship, Johnson's career has flourished. Engaging in memorable battles against Adriano Moraes and Rodtang, he has established himself as a cornerstone of the organization. Meanwhile, Askren's UFC journey didn't mirror his prior success, yet his brief stint provided the canvas for Jorge Masvidal's meteoric rise, notably with the viral flying knee knockout.

While Johnson amassed an impeccable record at 125 pounds with 11 consecutive title defenses and victories over notable opponents, his mainstream drawing power in the UFC remained modest. His departure allowed for a beneficial separation for both parties.

Reflecting on his final UFC fight against Henry Cejudo, Johnson highlighted the monetary disparities, revealing frustrations about compensation, which led to contemplation about his future with the organization. Ultimately, the trade for Askren turned out to be a pivotal moment in Johnson's career, providing him the opportunity to flourish in a new environment.

Johnson's move from the UFC to ONE Championship wasn't just a trade; it marked a strategic career pivot that allowed him to continue his legacy in a different arena, away from the confines of the octagon.


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