If UFC fighters are supposed to be the best in the world, then how come they all get knocked out when they cross over to ONE Championship in Asia?
In addition to former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, who was put down by Russian bruiser Timofey Nastyukhin, ex-flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson was recently finished by Brazilian wunderkind Adriano Moraes.
And let’s not forget what happened to Sage Northcutt.
“We’ve had a bunch of UFC champions come over to ONE,” CEO Chatri Sityodtong told Sportico. “We signed Demetrious Johnson who is the winningest UFC world champion in history. We’ve had Eddie Alvarez. We’ve had Sage Northcutt. We’ve had a bunch of UFC athletes, and they’ve all gotten knocked out. The fans went nuts. In America, UFC is considered the best, right? And then they come over here and they all got knocked out, literally all knocked out.”
To be fair, one of the most successful champions on the ONE roster, Ben Askren, was also creamed when he switched teams back in 2019.
“They’re phenomenal fighters,” Sityodtong continued. “They’re still the best in the world. I’m not saying that they’re not. They are. But this is a tough, tough sport where if you’re at the very top of the world, and I would argue that the ONE and UFC roster genuinely represent the very, very best in the world, and the margin for error is literally the hair on your head. Any crossover stars, it’s one of these things that, you make one small little mistake, a micro of a second, and you’re knocked out.”
A painful lesson UFC President Dana White learned when he brought his top star, Chuck Liddell, to the PRIDE arena back in late 2003.
“One of the most popular questions I ever get asked whenever I do interviews with fans is when will we see a mega global event, ONE versus UFC. East versus West, the best of the best,” Sityodtong said. “Let’s see it. I’m open to it. I said, ‘Look, if UFC wants to run it, let’s do it.’ I’m totally open. Champion versus champion, and let’s see who’s the best in the world.”