‘It’s up there’ – Demetrious Johnson ranks gold at IBJJF Masters Worlds as major career achievement

Legendary MMA fighter Demetrious Johnson says that earning gold at the IBJJF Masters Worlds is one of his top career accomplishments.

Last week, all-time MMA great Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson made a splash in the jiu-jitsu world, winning gold in the featherweight brown belt division at the IBJJF Masters Worlds.

Arguably the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter ever, Johnson is the current ONE flyweight MMA world champion and the former long-reigning UFC flyweight champion. But even with those accolades on his resume, he says that gold at Masters Worlds is one of the accomplishments he’s most proud of.

“Mighty Mouse” recently spoke to TMZ about his experience at the tournament and what it means to him.

According to him, it was his son that inspired him to compete in the event – the 37-year-old’s first jiu-jitsu tournament in over 18 years.

“My son goes ‘Dad, you should do it with me.’ And I was like, ‘you know what? You’re right. I should do it with you.’”

Competing alongside his son made for a special and unforgettable experience.

When asked where the accomplishment ranks among his many career experiences, Johnson said:

“It’s up there. Everything I’ve accomplished in my career, it’s up there… To go be able to compete with my son in the same tournament, it’s up there.”

Naturally, Johnson’s years of experience at the highest levels of MMA served him well in the 38-man Masters 2 bracket.

“Obviously my mixed martial arts training helped out a lot with my grappling, but to be able to display in a different realm where I can’t punch, elbow, knee, or kick anybody in the face, it’s something I wanted to put on my hat,” he explained. “Because when I think about mixed martial arts or martial arts in general, I want to embody that… That’s what I’m trying to embody as an athlete.”

Perhaps to the surprise of many, Johnson remains a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. He detailed why he hasn’t yet reached the highest rank available, despite his experience and accomplishments:

“The way my professor views black belts, or belting people is based on potential, I still have so much more to learn, and he was like, ‘You could get your black belt but you’re not learning the steps you need to prepare yourself for that black belt.’

“‘You just won a tournament, congratulations. But, the tournament is done. You won it. We get back in the gym, we move forward, and continue our steps to better ourselves as the best athlete we can be or best jiu-jitsu players we can be.”

Johnson – who successfully defended his ONE Championship belt in May – is not yet scheduled for his return to the cage.

He is, however, planning to compete again in jiu-jitsu so long as his schedule and nagging injuries allow.

“The next one I was eyeballing was an IBJJF Open in California,” he said. “We’ll see, we’ll see. I am going to enter another tournament.”

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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