It is official: flyweight world champion Demetrious Johnson has his next challenger for this Saturday. It’s a mistake to feel this way, but one can’t help but to feel that every challenge to Johnson’s reign is a bit of a formality.
The reason is that “Mighty Mouse” has quietly become the most consistent and dominant champion in the entire sport. Johnson has been flyweight world champion for over four years and you have to go back 12 fights to find his last loss – a decision defeat at bantamweight to #DominickCruz.
Johnson isn’t just a surefire pick to win, fight after fight. He’s also one of the best finishers in the UFC. He has knocked out or submitted opponents in five out of his last seven contests – a near peerless finishing rate among world champions.
Johnson doesn’t get the promotional push he deserves from the UFC, and not enough fans watch him compete, but that doesn’t change a claim that cannot be disputed – #DemetriousJohnson is the best fighter in the world. That’s right, the baddest man on the planet weighs in at 125 pounds.
If you don’t know much about Johnson yet, change that by reading our breakdown of the champ’s skills below. Then, watch him fight Tim Elliott December 3, and stick with Champions all weekend for complete coverage of that TUF 24 Finale card!
Stand-up striking: Johnson uses quick footwork to get in and out of range, perhaps faster than any other fighter in MMA, and he isn’t gun-shy, either. The champion can punch nicely with either hand and can surprise with accurate high kicks. His best striking may come on the inside, however, as Johnson’s clinch uppercuts, elbows and knees are about as expert as they come. Johnson moves his opponents well inside the clinch, positioning them to absorb his knees, and he also reacts well to their attempts to get free, filling the space between them with strikes. Few connect better on clinch separation than Johnson does.
Wrestling: one of the best all-around wrestlers in the sport, able to shoot proactively off of his own strikes as well as reactively to counter strikes from opponents. He also is phenomenal with clinch takedowns, and up against the cage. Johnson himself rarely gets taken down but when he does he also uses with great skill his abilities in this department…
Brazlian Jiu-Jitsu: On the rare occasions that Johnson finds himself on his back, he has an excellent butterfly guard that allows him to create distance from opponents, elevate them and get back up to his feet or on top of them. On top, Johnson has well-timed ground striking, and is a constant submission threat who can snatch a limb or neck in an instant, and from just about any angle.
Accomplishments: Skills are one thing, but Johnson has been able to apply his effectively with more consistency and longevity than any other reigning MMA world champ. Before making it all the way to a bantamweight title-fight in a class far too big for him, and then going the distance with champion Dominick Cruz, Johnson dropped to flyweight.
He had to squeak by the likes of other top fighters like Ian McCall in great fights to become champ, but since becoming top man in the division, Johnson has gotten better and better – beating back every dangerous challenger (like John Dodson, Joseph Benavidez, and Henry Cejudo) in increasingly impressive fashion. Johnson is the longest-reigning current UFC champion, and is on pace to break Anderson Silva’s all-time title-defense record. Demetrious Johnson is still in his physical prime, so he won’t be an easy man for anyone to beat. His greatness will also be impossible to deny when historians look back on the best fighters of all time.