MMA: Status as ONE newcomer doesn’t stop Lito Adiwang from dreaming big

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 09 2020 10:07 PM

Lito Adiwang is only in his second year in ONE Championship, yet despite being a newcomer to the elite levels of the sport he believes he has what it takes to hang with Demetrious Johnson.

“Yes, it’s been my dream to fight Demetrious Johnson since I started training in martial arts. He’s been one of my idols in this sport. I want to test myself against the best in the world, and DJ is it,” said Adiwang.

“I know I’m new to the game, and just arrived in ONE Championship. But if given the chance to fight DJ now, I’d take it. I’ll be ready with a great game plan.”

After graduating from Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series in early 2019, Adiwang made an immediate impact in the ONE circle, stopping highly regarded Senzo Ikeda and Pongsiri Mitsatit.

Due to his explosive, fan-friendly style, Adiwang has become one of the fastest rising stars in ONE.

Adiwang has been watching Johnson from the sidelines and has witnessed the latter's submission victory over Yuya Wakamatsu in his promotional debut in March 2019.

After another victory over Tatsumitsu Wada, Johnson went on to beat Adiwang’s Team Lakay teammate Danny Kingad by unanimous decision in the final round of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.

“DJ has great cage control. He can dictate the pace of the game and loves to put on pressure. He knows exactly how he can maneuver his opponents to fall into his traps, and he can transition quickly to take advantage of them. That’s what he’s really good at,” said Adiwang.

“As far as weaknesses go, he doesn’t have many. But one thing I think he has a hard time with is fighting backwards. I’ve analyzed some of the fights he lost, and opponents were always on the attack. He has a tough time dealing with pressure, especially against hard-hitting opponents.”

For now, Adiwang is focused on facing the best strawweight fighters, and a move to flyweight is nowhere near on his radar. 

He’s rumored to be facing No. 2 Yoshitaka Naito next, and Adiwang has even called out the former Japanese world champion.

Adiwang said he is content with keeping this dream bout within reach by beating everyone put in front of him.

“Nevertheless, the requirement to beat DJ is full focus for the entire bout, being constantly on the attack and unleashing sharp counters. When you keep him on the back foot, it becomes harder for him to impose his will,” he said.

“That being said, beating DJ isn’t easy by any means. It’s fun to think about these matchups, and I really love fighting. I just want to fight the best, so bring them on.”

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