Demetrious Johnson, the UFC’s current flyweight champion and fastest man in MMA, doesn't look like he's slowing down any time soon. The twenty-six year old Kentucky-born fighter brings forth a furious pace inside the Octagon, boasting an outstanding record of seventeen wins, two losses and a majority draw. Out of the twenty fights he's had in his career, half of them have been under the Zuffa banner.
Johnson has only defended his flyweight title once however his short career has been quite impressive thus far, making him an accomplished veteran rather than a young prospect. Johnson should not be considered as a “flavor of the week” fighter – someone who gets lost in the shuffle as time elapses. Johnson has proved he is one of the best fighter’s in the world and he definitely has the track record to prove it.
He made his WEC debut against the tough-as-nails Brad Pickett, where he came up short in a unanimous decision loss. Perhaps the main stage jitters got to him but since then he has amassed wins over many quality opponents.
Johnson was pitted against highly regarded Japanese standout Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto in his UFC debut, where he showcased all aspects of his game, coming out on top as the underdog. His next test was the biggest one of his career; former WEC Bantamweight champion Miguel Torres was expected to run through “Mighty Mouse”. After a decent first round, Torres succumbed to Johnson’s lighting-fast strikes and relentless takedowns, which earned Johnson huge upset over a former champion.
Johnson did enough to earn himself a title shot against current UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. “Mighty Mouse” lost to Cruz in one of the fastest paced matchups in years but there were positives for “Mighty Mouse” – he just needed to make a few adjustments. Cruz is no slouch either and the same could be said about him in this piece but unfortunately his recent string of injuries has plagued his UFC career for the moment.
After a controversial draw with Ian McCall in the opening round, Johnson erased any doubts in the rematch, advancing to the tournament final against Team Alpha Male’s Joseph Benavidez. Johnson earned a close but decisive win against Benavidez, securing his place in history as the UFC’s first ever flyweight champion. He successfully defended his title against Jackson’s MMA standout Jon Dodson.
If there are any further concerns, it may be Johnson’s ability to take a shot. Dodson caught “Mighty Mouse” at least twice and Benavidez dropped him as well in their fight. Johnson proved his composure is second to none in the championship rounds, especially against Dodson, where he came very close to finishing The Ultimate Fighter 14 alumni. “Mighty Mouse” is in a class of his own when competing in title fights.
If he beats John Moraga at UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Moraga in a week's time, it should cement Johnson’s position as one of the best fighter’s in the world. Whether or not pound-for-pound lists are irrelevant, the term is constantly thrown around when describing the superstars of the sport. Moraga has won seven straight, not to mention consecutive finishes in his two UFC bouts. If Johnson gets the nod next Saturday night, revenge against Cruz or a move back up to the bantamweight division for title aspirations, possibly against Renan Barao, may be too sweet to resist.
The bantamweight and flyweight divisions have faced backlash from naysayers who believe the lighter weight classes aren’t up to par with the rest – but on what basis? Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber proved their worth headlining UFC 132 with a thrilling bout that was a fight-of-the-year candidate on many year-end lists. The UFC’s flyweight tournament was extremely exciting and Johnson proved he brings the fireworks when competing in the main event. Maybe Johnson’s finishing ability could be the reason he is constantly being overlooked as one of the best in the world however he usually isn’t in a boring fight and as long as you win, moving up the ladder becomes inevitable.