By: Logan Helfferich
UFC flyweight champion, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is out of his co-main event championship fight at UFC 201 due to an injury. Originally scheduled to fight Wilson Reis for the belt, Johnson will be replaced by Sean Santella, who will step in and fight Reis.
Since September 30, 2010, Johnson has amassed a record of 14-1-1. His only loss came against Dominick Cruz on October 1, 2011. When the flyweight division was introduced to the UFC, four fighters competed in a mini tournament to crown the first ever UFC flyweight champion. The other “1” in Johnson’s record came from a draw against Ian McCall in the first round of the flyweight tournament. Johnson won the rematch via a unanimous decision from the judges and then went on to win the title against Joe Benavidez at UFC 152 on September 22, 2012. Since then, Johnson has completely demolished the entire flyweight division.
Johnson has successfully defended his title eight times, second-most in UFC history behind Anderson Silva, who successfully defended his title ten times. It’s not a matter of if Johnson will break Silva’s record, but when. Although, Johnson could decide to take a different route.
Since winning his belt in 2012, Johnson has defeated Benavidez a second time (via first round KO) and defeated John Dodson twice, both times by unanimous decision. Benavidez and Dodson are considered the two best flyweights in the world behind Johnson, and Dodson even decided to move up to bantamweight after his second loss to Johnson. On top of that, Johnson defeated John Moraga (currently #9 flyweight), Ali Bagautinov (currently #8 flyweight), Kyoto Horiguchi (currently #4 flyweight), Henry Cejudo (currently #2 flyweight) and Chris Cariaso. Of all of those fighters, Dodson and Bagautinov are the only two not to be finished by Johnson. Johnson isn’t as big of a draw to MMA fans anymore because everyone expects him to just keep winning. Johnson should look for some headliner fights, such as TJ Dillishaw or Urijah Faber.
A super-fight against Dominick Cruz would be huge. Cruz represents Johnson’s only loss in almost five years and has recently returned to the sport after two separate knee injuries and surgeries. Cruz quickly won his belt back by defeating TJ Dillishaw and followed that win with a convincing victory over Urijah Faber. Like Johnson, Cruz is looking around his division for a worthy challenger, but seems to have beaten them all already.
A catch-weight fight would work, but it would only be for entertainment purposes. The best idea would be to have the fight at bantamweight again, like it was five years ago. The UFC should have Cruz defend his belt against Johnson, giving Johnson the chance to be the first UFC fighter to hold two different titles simultaneously. Johnson has a way better chance at pulling it off than Conor McGregor, or anyone else for that matter. To be fair to Cruz, the UFC could grant him a shot at the featherweight title if he defeats Johnson. That way, he’ll also get a chance to hold two belts simultaneously.
It’s time for the UFC to acknowledge Johnson’s dominance in a different way than having Joe Rogan talk about how “amazing and incredible” he is before each title defense. Fight fans are tired of seeing and hearing the same things. Give Johnson the credit he is due and let him build his legacy. Possibly the most-skilled MMA fighter in history isn’t getting the recognition he deserves. A championship belt on each shoulder will surely start opening eyes and turning heads.