Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight elites Demetrious Johnson and Henry Cejudo collided last night (April 23, 2016) at UFC 197 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Since winning his strap, Johnson has been untouchable and has quickly beaten the majority of his challengers. Cejudo was one of the few remaining that Johnson had yet to stomp out, so this was simply an opportunity to tighten his hold on the title even further.
As one of the Flyweights yet to face off with the champion, Cejudo was in a pretty unique position. He rose through the ranks quickly in large part because he was a new face, and last night was his chance to make the most of that opportunity.
Instead, Johnson ran through him without much effort.
Cejudo pressed the action immediately, while "Mighty Mouse" circled the cage and looked for counters. However, Johnson was also unafraid of clinching with his challenger, which did result in an early takedown for Cejudo.
Unfortunately for Cejudo, Johnson stood back up almost immediately.
Back in the clinch, Johnson scored with some hard knees that seemed to stun his opponent. Cejudo pushed forward and recovered a bit, but Johnson rocked his opponent again with a hard elbow from inside the clinch. Following that strike, Johnson swarmed with more knees to the body and head from the double-collar tie.
Cejudo was overwhelmed and eating hard strikes. Against the fence, a final knee to the mid-section sealed the deal and sent "The Messenger" crumbling to the mat. A few follow up punches brought the official finish, but Cejudo was more than done from the clinch barrage he just endured.
Johnson has showed great defensive clinch striking in the past, but this was some next level offense. Whenever Cejudo closed the distance -- which, remember, which Cejudo's entire goal -- Johnson destroyed his opponent's body with knees and found opportunities to batter his skull with elbows, punches, and more knees.
By the end of the fight, Cejudo was fleeing the clinch. At that point, he was actively choosing to strike with Johnson rather than pursue his only real path to victory.
That's impressive work by the champion.
As for what's next for Johnson, there's only one answer. Joseph Benavidez has earned another title shot, and he's the only man who's come reasonably close to defeating Johnson in a title fight. Their initial encounter was a split decision, and while "Mighty Mouse" did land a brutal first round knockout in the rematch, "Beefcake" still has a better chance at dethroning Johnson than anyone else in the world.
If everyone's being honest, Cejudo is very likely not the number two-ranked Flyweight in the world as listed in the UFC rankings. This was always something of a mismatch, but Cejudo sold largely because he was undefeated and had some important wrestling credentials.
Unfortunately, Johnson didn't give a shit about those credentials.
A mentioned that wrestling was Cejudo's path to victory, but that wasn't really true. Johnson willingly wrestled with his opponent in the clinch, and he returned to his feet effortlessly the one time Cejudo did take him down.
Cejudo has proven himself a very skilled fighter, but he had no real way to win this bout with the champion.
Last night, Demetrious Johnson smashed his opponent in short fashion. Just how long will Johnson dominate the Flyweight division?