Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting
After picking up his first successful title defense with a unanimous decision win over John Dodson in the UFC on FOX 6 headliner, we discuss what's next for UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson firmly held his place atop the 125-pound ladder with a unanimous decision victory over John Dodson in the main event of UFC on FOX 6: "Johnson vs. Dodson."
It was believed that Dodson's thunderous knockout power would be able to pose some problems to the champion, and while that prognostication nearly came true, Johnson displayed incredible durability by surviving three knockdowns over the course of the fight.
"Mighty Mouse" got past "The Magician," who proved to be formidable challenger, in impressive fashion for the first successful in what is starting to look more and more like the beginning of a dominant reign.
Considering the thin nature of the 125-pound division, it's likely that Johnson will make his next defense against a familiar foe in either Joseph Benavidez or Ian McCall, who meet on the main card of UFC 156 next Saturday night (Feb. 2, 2013).
Johnson defeated Benavidez to become the inaugural UFC flyweight champion just two fights ago at UFC 152. The fight was a competitive five-round battle, but Johnson was clearly the superior of the two and walked away with the unanimous decision victory and the belt around his waist.
How would a rematch go less than a year later? It's hard to tell. But Benavidez is certainly capable of defeating Johnson with the right game plan. Unfortunately for "Joe-Jitsu," fighting Johnson again this soon would be a major risk as two losses to the champion in such a short time span would put him in title purgatory in the division, a situation very similar to what he faced at bantamweight with two losses to Dominick Cruz. However, if Benavidez loses to Johnson again, this time there's no lighter weight class to drop down to.
McCall would come into a fight against Johnson in a very similar situation as Benavidez. No, "Uncle Creepy" hasn't fought for UFC gold yet, but he has shared the cage with Johnson twice already, going 0-1-1 in that span. Granted, one could make the argument McCall should have won the first fight, or at least had another round to try and win, but the much publicized controversy surrounding a scoring error prevented that from happening and the fight was ruled a draw.
The second fight was a fairly one-sided performance from Johnson; however, McCall claims a poor weight cut was a contributing factor in his lackluster effort. When he was signed to the UFC last year, many had McCall ranked as the top flyweight in the world.
It would be hard to argue there isn't a contingent of fans that would like to see Johnson vs. McCall 3, particularly due to the history between the two.
It would be nice if there were an option for Johnson's next fight outside of a rematch with either Benavidez or McCall, but with the current landscape of the flyweight division, there isn't any fighter with enough momentum or a big enough name to warrant a title shot.
Perhaps there is a prominent bantamweight out there who will take notice of the large gap atop the 125-pound weight and decide now is the time to cut 10 additional pounds and take advantage of the undeveloped nature of the flyweight division.
For now, though, Benavidez and McCall are the leading candidates and you can be sure Johnson will be keeping a very close eye on how that fight goes down at UFC 156.
Who would you like to see Johnson face next? Let us know in the comments section below.