If you haven’t heard, Mayweather vs. McGregor mania is officially over and it is time to switch our focus back to MMA normalcy (easier said than done). After such a historic event that transfixed the entire combat sports world, the MMA side turns its attention to UFC 215 just two weeks later.
The card is headlined by Demetrious Johnson, the longtime flyweight king, as he takes on contender Ray Borg in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This is not a normal fight for Johnson, who is going for his eleventh defense of his title, breaking Anderson Silva’s record and standing alone as the most successful UFC champion of all time.
Johnson has been a dominant champion for a very long time (since 2012 to be exact) and has largely flown under the radar. He has dismantled every challenger put in front of him, but his popularity has never compared to the likes of Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, or even Jon Jones.
Nobody has really figured out why Johnson’s excellence has not been respected or celebrated like it should, but he truly epitomizes what mixed martial arts is all about.
Out of Johnson’s 10 title defenses, he has had four decisions, four submissions, and 2 KOs/TKOs. Some fighters he has even defeated twice during that span (Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson). He literally has the skills and capabilities to win any way he wants to and no flyweight has yet to find a weakness.
When comparing Johnson’s dominance to other sports, you can look at the WNBA’s Houston Comets, who won the first four titles of the league’s existence from 1997-2000. Johnson’s dominance has been even more impressive. He is not only the current flyweight champion; he is the only champion the division has ever known.
After Johnson breaks the title defense record, as most assume he will, we could see him in more high profile fights that could raise his popularity. He could easily fight for the bantamweight belt since he has fought there before, or he could try to avenge his last loss in the octagon by facing former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
Even though Johnson may not be a household name, he is respected by just about everyone in the MMA community. His striking, grappling, and ability to measure distance are skills any upcoming MMA fighter can learn from by studying his fights.
So if a casual fan who doesn’t watch MMA asks you who the greatest of all time is, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson has to be on the short list. If they need more convincing, tell them he is the Floyd Mayweather of MMA. He does not always please everybody, but he is the most dominant fighter the sport has ever seen.