clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Demetrious Johnson reveals solution to the Aljamain Sterling puzzle: ‘I would eat his ass up’ | UFC 292

Demetrious Johnson believes he knows how to dethrone the current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight kingpin, Aljamain Sterling.

Still one of the best fighters walking the Earth today, Johnson is largely considered one of the all-time greats in mixed martial arts (MMA). Before departing UFC in 2018, “Mighty Mouse” set the record for most consecutive title defenses in UFC history with 11 during his 125-pound Flyweight reign. He currently rules the roost in ONE Championship as the promotion’s 135-pound champion.

After 30 fights (25-4-1), Johnson, 37, isn’t feeling all too excited about MMA anymore, but would love to solve the Sterling puzzle if given the opportunity.

“I feel his weakness is he has no clinch game,” Johnson told The MMA Hour. “Like, I would eat his ass up for breakfast in the clinch game. I feel like rhythm-wise, I move way better than he does in the feet. [In] grappling, he is longer, so I would never let him get my f—king back, because he’ll lock them f—king ‘Funk Master’ legs in a body triangle like he did at Petr Yan, and they’ll have to survive him doing that.

“The one thing he does that helps to my advantage is that he crosses a distance for me, right?” he continued. “He, he does this [jabs the air], and a funky-ass kick, and I’m like, ‘Perfect. Come here, I wanna show you a thing called Muay Thai clinch.’ I just feel like I’ll eat him alive in a clinch.”

The chances of Johnson returning to UFC are slim to none at this stage and he’s been adamant he’ll end his career in ONE since joining. However, he’s still found himself assessing UFC stars like “Funk Master” more than most and did so as recently as the UFC titlist’s last fight against Henry Cejudo. Sterling walked away the victor via a split decision, but not without being tested by the former two-division champion.

“I’ve been trying to help Henry develop his clinch game,” Johnson said. “If Henry had a better clinch game in that fight, and if Henry was more savvy and grappled more ... when ‘Aljo’ did that shot, and he failed the shot attempt, and he stayed down as a grounded opponent and Henry hit his head there, I said, ‘Henry, you circle around that motherf—ker and you make him get up, you put your hooks in, you start to grappling exchange ... you’ve got to grapple.”

Sterling seeks his fourth-career title defense against Sean O’Malley in the main event of UFC 292 in Boston, Massachusetts this weekend (Sat., Aug. 19, 2023).

LIVE! Watch UFC 293 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

MASSIVE MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Sydney, Australia, for the first time in five years on Sat., Sept. 9, 2023, with a 185-pound world title fight inside Qudos Bank Arena. In the ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight roost-ruler, Israel Adesanya, plans to silence No. 5-seeded contender, Sean Strickland. In UFC 293’s hard-hitting Heavyweight co-main event, No-6-ranked fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with towering Russian, Alexander Volkov (No. 8).

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!


Who would win?

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    (343 votes)
  • 22%
    (98 votes)
441 votes total Vote Now

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 292 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 292: “Sterling vs. O’Malley” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania