7 consecutive successful title defenses. Undefeated as a flyweight in 10 UFC fights. Pound for pound best fighter in the world today? Not so fast. In my humble opinion, Demetrious Johnson still has a little bit of work to do.
He’s the only champion in the short history of the flyweight division and saying he’s cleaned it out wouldn’t be a false statement. Below, we’ll take a look at some potential opponents for “Mighty Mouse” and discuss whether his next fight should take place at flyweight or if he should move up to bantamweight.
Johnson has beaten five of top ten ranked men in his division – some of them twice. Two men that he has yet to face, Henry Cejudo and Jussier Formiga, will collide on November 21st at the TUF Latin America 2 finale.
With a 2-0 record as a flyweight (3-0 overall) since being signed by the UFC, Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo has looked dominant inside of the octagon thus far. If he can get past his most formidable opponent to date in Formiga, you could easily sell him as DJ’s toughest test yet. Cejudo is easily the most decorated wrestler in the flyweight division and he has the ability to give the champion fits if he can somehow match the impossible work rate Johnson has put out fight after fight since becoming flyweight champion.
Johnson has been taken down 11 times during his 10 fights as a UFC flyweight. Cejudo has taken down his opponents 7 times during his 2-fight UFC flyweight career. Also of note, Johnson was taken down a whopping 24 times during his 6 fights at bantamweight with Zuffa. Now that John Lineker has been forced to move to bantamweight after missing weight every other fight, Cejudo is easily the biggest 125 lb’er on the roster. Simply put, he wrestles like a featherweight.
With losses to Benavidez and Dodson (Johnson has beaten both men twice) it’s tough to make an argument for Formiga as the next title contender at flyweight. If you’re trying to sell this man as your top P4P fighter in the world you simply cannot continue to insult the intelligence of your audience. Henry Cejudo is the only man at 125 lbs. who makes sense for Demetrious Johnson next.
Johnson currently holds an ultra impressive record of 23-2-1 as a professional mixed martial artist. What’s even more impressive is his 11-1-1 record during his time with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The man responsible for the 1 in the middle of 11-1-1, Dominick Cruz, has only fought once since defeating Johnson back in 2011 due to a horrific and unprecedented string of injuries that forced him to vacate his bantamweight title. If Cruz can return to action in early 2016, there are only two fights to make; a title bout against T.J. Dillashaw (aka Cruz 2.0) or a superfight of sorts against Demetrious Johnson.
Earlier in this very article, we mentioned that DJ was taken down 24 times during his 6 fight stint as a UFC bantamweight. Cruz was responsible for 10 of those. For Johnson, this is ancient history. That said, I have a tough time calling him the best P4P fighter in the world if his last fight against someone outside of his current weight class was that lopsided. There is no better time than now for this dominant flyweight to move back up to 135 lbs. Should he vacate his title? Absolutely not. The flyweight title can stay around Johnson’s waist for as long as long as it needs to without being defended and no one will complain. Let’s make this fight a #1 contendership bout for the UFC bantamweight strap. Winner gets Dillshaw. NEXT!
If Demetrious Johnson can avenge the lone loss of his 13-fight UFC career by defeating Dominick Cruz he more than earns the rare opportunity to join Randy Couture and B.J. Penn as a 2-division UFC champion. It’s no secret that Johnson has requested a purse of 2 million dollars in the past to take on current UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw. Sorry, DJ, you’re not worth it. And you know it. Dillashaw has also made it clear that would even move down to 125 to take on Johnson, where he could make his own history by becoming a 2-division champ. The problem is, Johnson has cleared out his division. Dillashaw has not. If Johnson, the worst PPV draw in the history of the sport, can agree to somewhere around 200 or 300K instead of 2 million we may just see this fight happen.
During Anderson Silva’s record-setting title run he moved up in weight 3-times to fight guys like Forrest Griffin, James Irvin and Stephan Bonnar. While 145 lbs may be a little much for “Mighty Mouse,” a fun move up to 135 to co-main event an upcoming PPV. The biggest here is Urijah Faber.
No one really wants to fight Faber at 135 or 145 lbs which is evidenced by his upcoming match up against Frankie Saenz at UFC 184. With a record of 0-6 over his last 6 title fights, Faber isn’t in line for a title shot again anytime soon. He’s entered that part of his career where he can either help put over lesser known fighters or he can take on the role of a “superfighter” and take on fighters like Demetrious Johnson, or even a returning B.J. Penn if the promotion decides to visit Hawaii sometime soon. A win over Faber may be what Johnson needs to win over the fans who simply just are not tuning in to watch him fight.
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