Anyone who doubted the wisdom of Demetrious Johnson making the switch from the UFC to ONE Championship was sorely misguided, according to the man who now calls “Mighty Mouse’s” fights.

ONE commentator Michael Schiavello said he thinks the record-breaking former UFC flyweight champion is already more appreciated as a ONE athlete than he was during his UFC tenure, and he puts it down to the different philosophy of the fans in the arena watching him in action.

“I think he’s a much better fit (in Asia),” Schiavello told MMA Junkie. “I think, with Demetrious’s personality and his approach to the martial arts and his approach to the perfection of his craft, this for Demetrious is not fighting. This is not just going in there and bashing in someone’s skull so he can take home a hefty paycheck.”

While many in the western world use the term “fighters” as a catch-all description for the men and women who compete in mixed martial arts, Schiavello said the Asian MMA audience tends to see them as athletes, martial artists or, simply, as artists.

“Every time I talk to him, even though he’s pound-for-pound one of, if not the best in the world, it’s always a matter of, ‘I can improve.’ He’s always trying to improve his craft, and I think (he) gets the respect for that now in Asia, where the practice of martial arts is considered still a craft rather than just fighting. Demetrious is embraced across Asia as a craftsman, a master craftsman of the highest order who is always working on his art, and his art form is himself.”

That mentality of never feeling like the finished article has helped drive Johnson (30-3-1) to new heights as he became the most dominant champion in UFC history before switching promotions to take on the best in Asia with ONE.

Rather than jumping straight into a title fight, Johnson entered the ONE flyweight grand prix and defeated three of the organization’s top contenders to capture the tournament title and earn a shot at three-time champ Adriano Moraes (18-3). And even though the Brazilian is a 12-fight veteran of the promotion, Schiavello says Johnson’s career resumé and approach to the latest chapter mean he already has the respect of the fans in Asia.

“There’s an old saying that a work of art is never completed; it’s only ever abandoned. And when you look at someone like Demetrious, that’s the way I think he’s embraced,” Schiavello explained. “He’s a work of art in progress. He’s still showing us things we haven’t seen before, or if we have seen them before, he’s doing them a little better, a little differently here in ONE Championship. There are differences in the weight cutting, in the rules, in the way bouts are judged over here, so maybe he has a little more room to move and express himself that he didn’t have in the West before in the UFC.

“So certainly I think that Asia is a better place for him. It’s where he can express himself, not as a fighter, but as an artist – he really does put the ‘art’ in martial arts. And he’s still a developing, improving, martial artist, a craftsman honing his trade.”