It is time to make a case for Demetrious Johnson as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time), after defeating Adriano Moraes by a stunning 4th round knockout at ONE on Prime Video 1 to capture Flyweight gold for the Singapore based promotion this past Saturday.
‘Mighty Mouse’ Early Career & UFC
Johnson quickly amassed a record of 10-0 with eight coming by way of finish and six in the first round in just under a span of three years. Johnson was off to WEC for his first taste of high-level competition, facing Brad Pickett at WEC 48 at Bantamweight in April of 2010. Although losing to Pickett by decision, Johnson followed up the loss by winning his next two contests before WEC merged with the UFC, sending Johnson to the premier MMA organization.
After quickly winning his first two contests in the UFC at Bantamweight, ‘Mighty Mouse’ was up for a crack at Bantamweight great-Dominick Cruz for the title at UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson in October of 2011, Johnson was defeated by unanimous decision.
The UFC then decided to experiment and create a four-fighter tournament to crown the inaugural Flyweight Champion, including Johnson, Yasuhiro Urushitani, Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez. Johnson faced McCall in the semi-final, fighting to a majority draw but followed up by soundly defeating McCall in the rematch by decision. Johnson then met Benavidez in the final, winning the contest by split-decision to become the first UFC Flyweight champ at UFC 152 in September of 2012.
After becoming the first ever UFC Flyweight champion, Johnson had no intentions on letting go of the gold anytime soon. Wreaking havoc on the ‘new’ division, ‘Mighty Mouse’ defeated John Dodson in his first defense by decision earning fight of the night honors. Johnson then went on to defend against John Moraga, Benavidez in a rematch (KO 1st round), Ali Bagautinov (Bagautinov tested positive for an EPO), Chris Cariaso, Kyoji Horiguci by sub at the 4:59 mark of the fifth round (tied latest finish in UFC history), Dodson in a rematch, Henry Cejudo, Tim Elliott, Wilson Reis and Ray Borg in an unforgettable suplex-to-armbar finish to break the record for most consecutive title defenses in the UFC (11), surpassing Anderson Silva’s record of 10.
On October 27, 2018, Johnson was traded to ONE by the UFC in exchange for Ben Askren. Johnson was off to the races, being announced as one of the eight participants in the ONE Flyweight grand prix. Johnson won all three of his bouts, becoming the ONE Flyweight world grand prix champion.
Johnson was then set to face the at the time ONE Flyweight champ-Adriano Moraes at ONE on TNT on April 7th, 2021. Moraes stunned MMA audiences across the world by defeating Johnson by KO in the 2nd round.
Back to the drawing board, Johnson then competed in a mixed rules fight with Rodtang Jitmuangnon, highly regarded as one of the best Muay Thai fighters in the world. Rounds one and three were to be fought under ONE Muay Thai ruleset and rounds two and four to be fought under ONE MMA ruleset. Johnson defeated Rodtang by submission in the second round at ONE Championship: X in March of 2022.
As noted at the top of the article, Johnson got his revenge against Moraes this past Saturday, winning ONE Flyweight gold for the first time by a performance of the night flying knee KO in the fourth round.
Demetrious Johnson’s Accomplishments
- Most consecutive wins in the UFC Flyweight division (13)
- Inaugural UFC Flyweight Champion
- Third most wins in UFC title fights (12)
- Most consecutive title defenses in UFC history (11)
- Fight of the Night UFC three times (McCall, Dodson, Cejudo)
- Knockout of the Night UFC once (Benavidez)
- Submission of the Night UFC once (Moraga)
- Performance of the Night UFC four times (Horiguci, Cejudo, Reis, Borg)
- Second fighter in UFC history to be awarded bonuses in all four possible categories
- ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Champion
- ONE Flyweight Champion
- 2017 Submission of the Year vs. Ray Borg
- 2013 Fighter of the Year via multiple outlets
- 2017 Fighter of the Year via multiple outlets
How does Demetrious Johnson stack up against other greats like Georges St. Pierre, Jon Jones or Anderson Silva? Johnson has more consecutive title defenses than any of them, GSP is up one in most title fight wins (13), Jones is up two (14). GSP also has the claim of winning belts in two weight classes in the UFC, but Johnson meanwhile has won titles in two of the premier MMA promotions, ONE and UFC.
Overall record GSP (26-2), Silva (34-11-1 NC), Jones (26-1-1 NC) and Johnson (31-4-1). Although Johnson has the third best winning percentage of the four, Johnson has won the second most contests and has never been involved in controversy the likes of Jones with multiple positive drug test results (cocaine, clomiphene, letrozole, turinabol) or Silva (drostanolone and androstane).
It’s really splitting hairs between the greats like named prior, as is any hotly contested sports debate so who do you think is the GOAT, how does Demetrious Johnson stack up in the rankings? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images