Few people will argue that UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson isn’t the best pound-for-pound martial artist on the planet today.
Johnson, who has never lost at 125 pounds, is coming off a submission win over Ray Borg at UFC 216 in which he broke Anderson Silva’s UFC record for most consecutive title defenses with his 11th. It was one of Johnson’s most memorable victories to date, especially considering it was the third time during his title reign that he finished a bout in the fifth and final round.
Johnson’s excellence has not gone unnoticed. Silva, who is considered one of the best fighters in mixed martial arts (MMA) history, recently told TMZ Sports that he believes “Mighty Mouse” is the greatest fighter ever. It’s an incredible compliment to hear and one that Johnson isn’t taking lightly.
“It’s awesome,” Johnson told TMZ Sports when asked about Silva’s recent praise. “It’s always an honor when somebody like Anderson Silva [says that]. The status he’s got and what he’s done in mixed martial arts is amazing. I remember my first fight in the UFC. It was UFC 126: Anderson Silva vs. [Vitor] Belfort. I was there. He was main event. I like the guy. I think he’s had an amazing career, and he’s still going.”
Considering Johnson has barely lost a round at 125 pounds, most fight fans share Silva’s outlook that the flyweight king is the best fighter of all time. While Johnson understands his place in history, he isn’t ready to put himself above some of the legends of MMA.
“I don’t [think I’m the GOAT]. I don’t put a lot of stockage to that,” Johnson said. “Like I told somebody, once Jon Jones becomes reinstated, I’m sure he’s going to jump above me.”
Johnson’s dominance over the past few years has left the UFC’s flyweight division in shambles. There are limited options for “Mighty Mouse” moving forward, but if he’s able to defeat UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw in a potential superfight then he may very well solidify himself as the GOAT.
“I do believe that I have - out of all the champions and all of the opposition I ever fought - I’ve fought different styles, so, it’s getting there,” Johnson said about his bid for greatest fighter of all time.