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Matt Hume talks Asian MMA and a possible move to flyweight for Demetrious Johnson

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Matt Hume is best known in the US as the MMA mastermind trainer behind such top caliber fighters as Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix finalist Josh Barnett, former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin and UFC bantamweight contender Demetrious Johnson.

He is also a recognizable figure on the Asian scene as the former head official for PRIDE Fighting Championship, the rules director for DREAM Fighting Championship and the head official for the recently formed ONE Fighting Championship.

In short, he's kind of a big deal.

He took time out to talk exclusively to MMA Mania about why he thinks Johnson came up short in his recent title shot, his involvement with One FC and the future for Asian MMA.

What were your thoughts on Demetrious Johnson's recent loss, were you surprised by how the fight went?

I feel DJ could have won the fight convincingly if he would have stuck to the game plan.  DJ had a strong advantage on the feet but made bad choices to engage in wrestling and stay in clinches where he lost the fight.  Had he stuck to the game plan and advice given between rounds, he would not have been in those positions and would have played to his advantage. He learned a lesson the hard way this time and will mature and be a much better fighter from the experience.

Johnson looks small for a bantamweight. Could he drop down to 125-pounds and is this something you have discussed with the UFC?

He is a natural 125 and fought most of his career at 125. He only went to135 to be in WEC and UFC because they don't have a 125 division. If UFC brings the 125 division in in the future we will consider dropping him to that division, but for now he is a 135 pounder.

What did you think of the first One FC show?

Great first event and huge potential!

You were in charge of implementing One FC's rules and scoring, how do you think they worked?

I thought they worked great.

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Were there any fighters on that card who particularly impressed you?

Many of the fighters had individual aspects of their game that were impressive but they were already known to be great in those areas. What impresses me is when guys show skill outside of the area that they are already known to be good in.

Eddie Ng showed great poise in danger and killer instinct when the time was right. Yodsanan showed that he is developing his ground game and wont have to rely on his great boxing and Muay Thai. Colossa impressed me with his power and Muay Thai skill, he was already skilled in Muay Thai but I had never seen it first hand.

Rahman is very green but showed big heart and poise in front of his home town with major pressure for a young kid in his first bout.  Zoro's elbows and Muay Thai are vastly improved and he didn't ever try to rely on his killer ground game.

Eric Kelly showed a slick ground game with killer instinct. Eduard Foyalang is well rounded and tough, with a huge heart. Those guys impressed me for those reasons, as well as some of the other fighters who showed skill and poise well beyond the skill level they were expected to be at.  The level of Asian MMA is coming up quickly!

Were you surprised by how many people were there?

I had an idea that it was going to packed because I followed the promotion/marketing of the event and kept up on ticket sales. I have been to Singapore before and to Evolve, so I wasn't really surprised with the success.

Are you going to be involved in any more One FC shows?

For sure!

You've been involved in a lot of MMA shows including Pride, Dream the UFC. How much potential does One FC have and how excited are you about it?

I think the timing right now is great for ONE FC and it is focusing in the right market.  It has great potential and I'm excited to be involved with it from the opening bell!

You've also spent time with Rich Franklin at Evolve MMA, what did you think of that facility, were you impressed?

The facility is very nice, but what is most impressive are the people. The instructors are world class and the students are class. it is a very positive atmosphere regardless of your goals or lack of goals and a fun place to hang out. There are no egos, just nice people and awesome instructors.

You've been involved in the Asian MMA scene for a long time, how do you view the state of Asian MMA and what are your thoughts on the future of Asian MMA?

Asia is a huge place with vastly differing cultures depending on where you are in Asia. Some places will blow up and accept MMA other may not. I think the countries that had fighters on the last ONE FC event will grow very quickly in their fan base, some already have.
 
Obviously Singapore is a great new MMA market, I think that Thailand, Phillipines, Korea, China, Taiwan and India have cultures and emerging fighters that will see growth of their fan base, I'm sure others will follow as well.  Japan already has a huge base and will return to glory in the future as the surrounding Asian countries bring competition.

Matt Hume is the owner and head trainer at AMC Kickboxing and Pankration. For more information visit: www.pankration.com

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