MMA’s longest active official Big John McCarthy spoke on the brilliance of Demetrious Johnson’s game on Friday’s edition of his podcast, “Let’s Get it On”, and makes a sound argument for Mighty Mouse to be considered the world’s top-ranked pound for pound mixed martial artist.
“He is a textbook on how to fight MMA. He creates incredible angles that he can attack and not be attacked on. He utilizes so many different forms of attacks that come from different arts. He does things that are incredibly smart and at such a high level, man I give Matt (DJ’s coach Matt Hume) credit but you really gotta give DJ all the credit because look, Matt’s showing him (the techniques) but DJ’s the one putting in the work and he’s the one doing that technique over and over and over again.”
“DJ and Jon Jones are the greatest mixed martial artists right now in my mind that there is. The big difference is when you watch DJ fight Henry Cejudo you’re watching a guy that’s reacting, and reacting without having to think about it. It is instinctual. He has trained himself so well that the moves that he was doing were, ‘I feel this, boom’ and all the sudden he’s shooting for an attack. He’s creating an angle and ‘boom’ here comes the knee up in a certain area.
When you watch Jon Jones fight OSP, and he had a lot of time off, but he was thinking. He was thinking about something, then trying to react to it. And at this point Joe Rogan’s right. Demetrious Johnson is the greatest pound for pound mixed martial artist there is at this time. He can do more things in a greater variety of ways than any other fighter out there.”
McCarthy has had the best seat in the house in three of both Jones and Johnson’s fights, including arguably both of their toughest title defenses, the Gustafsson fight for Jones and Dodson 1 for Johnson.
Many people argue that Jones has faced the tougher competition, therefore he deserves the edge in this debate. I disagree with that logic. I look at John Dodson, a man who knocked out TJ Dillashaw at bantamweight and hasn’t lost to anyone besides Johnson since ‘09; Joseph Benevedes, a man who’s dominated everyone he’s faced in the division besides the champion, and who fought Dominick Cruz to a split-decision. Dodson appeared two steps behind Johnson in their last fight, and there was no shame in his performance. Mighty Mouse was just that great. Johnson became the only man to finish Benevides in their last contest, and like the Olympic champion Cejudo he didn’t make it one round. Combining those accomplishments with wins over an “enhanced” Ali Bagautinov, an always tough Ian McCall, and dangerous newcomer Kyoji Horiguchi and I feel you have to give Johnson his due, and the flyweight division’s top fighters more respect.
If you take a hard look at Jones’ record you’ll see that he’s had a natural size advantage over many opponents such as Machida, Rua, Sonnen, and Belfort. Phil Davis has victories over two of his tougher tests, Gustafsson and Teixeira, and while Davis is an excellent fighter he’s never been considered an elite fighter in the division.
I think the dedication Johnson has showed to the sport over the past few years contrasted against Jones’ distractions has resulted in DJ pulling ahead as a complete mixed martial artist. Jones has the perfect opportunity to swing the pendulum back in his direction against the champion Daniel Cormier this July at UFC 200.