For those mixed martial arts (MMA) fans who loved the old PRIDE FC grand prix tournaments, I’m happy to report that ONE Championship is bringing them back in 2019, starring none other than newly-signed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) imports Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez.
Johnson (27-3-1) will debut as part of the flyweight tourney after signing with the Singapore-based combat sports promotion just last month. That transition allowed former ONE welterweight champion, Ben Askren, to draw his release and hook up with UFC.
“It has always been a dream of mine to actually compete in Asia in a world grand prix,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “The biggest thing that you can expect from me for coming over here to compete in Asia is that I’ll do my best, I am taking no shortcuts.”
As for Alvarez (29-6), he signed free and clear after finishing out his UFC contract earlier this year. “The Underground King” — who held gold for both UFC and Bellator MMA — will head up the ONE lightweight tourney.
“It was in Asia where I made a name for myself and started my career,” Alvarez said. “Everything has come full circle for me. I can’t say how excited and grateful I am to be part of the ONE Championship family. This is where true martial arts lives.”
The remainder of the field has yet to be revealed; however, you can expect the completed 125-pound and 155-pound brackets to be released in the coming weeks.