The G.O.A.T of the flyweights

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson will go down as the GOAT of the 125-pound division. That means over Cejudo, Fig or Moreno. As it stands DJ continues to hold all the records in the Flyweight division, he defended his belt a staggering 11 times and held the title from 2012 to 2017 while having his way with all challengers. He finally lost his title to Henry Cejudo via split decision in a rivalry that is currently tied at 1 and 1 for each fighter (DJ stopped Cejudo via 1st round TKO in their first fight). DJ was part of the first-ever trade in MMA history when the UFC and One Fc decided to swap fighters (Ben Askren) and has been fighting for the Asian based promotion since 2019.  

DJ’s path to being a champion was not an easy one. Mighty mouse has long been a disciple of legendary head coach Matt Hume at AMC Pankration and began his pro career in 2007 going 10-0 before losing to Brad Picket in the WEC. This organization would be his launching pad as he was showing flashes of what was to come, at 5 ft 3 DJ has always been the smaller fighter which makes the fact that he fought as a bantamweight even more impressive. In fact, for those that may not remember, DJ fought for the UFC bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz where he went the full 5 against another great. From there he dropped down to 125 and fought in the inaugural flyweight tournament where he would beat Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez en route to being crowned the first ever 125-pound champ. From there he would leave a trail of bodies that every champ desires to have on their resume. During his reign, he was dubbed the greatest martial artist ever by the likes of Joe Rogan and Dana White. His blend of speed, athleticism, creativity and all-around preparation set him apart from his competition which allowed him to be on top for so long.

Let’s not forget that when DJ was running things, MMA fans were not overly fond of the lighter weight classes. In fact, many ignored or bad mouthed anyone below 155 because they believed it wasn’t “exciting enough” or not enough knockouts. Even the UFC never really gave DJ his due diligence as a champ when compared with other fighters of that time. Many felt like he wasn’t appreciated as a champion and didn’t get the social media or marketing push that he deserved. But to be fair here DJ was not the type of fighter that craved attention. After all, he did let be known on multiple occasions that he only cares about winning, money and taking care of his family. But regardless of him wanting attention or not talking trash like other fighters, DJ still gave the UFC many memorable fights and even had several rivalries against top talent like McCall, Benavidez, Dodson and Cejudo (see MMA UK news for a list of DJ’s most memorable moments). 

While his time in the UFC came to a close after 18 fights (16-2 in UFC) in 7 years, DJ continued to prove he was not done. While competing for One Fc, he has continued fighting in the flyweight division (135 for One Fc) and is currently 3-1 in MMA and 1-0 under mixed rules where he submitted Muay Thai legend Rodtang. Dj started his 3-0 with the promotion before suffering his first-ever KO loss to Adriano Moraes last year. Many thought that this would either put a stamp on his career or it meant that he would never compete again, but as I mentioned previously DJ decided to try his hand in a mixed rules match against a Muay Thai fighter who has an astonishing 267-42 record. While no word has been given about who or when we will see him back in action, DJ was brutally honest in saying he doesn’t deserve a title shot after his victory over Rodtang. In fact, he believes he will have to fight and win a few times before earning his shot again. 

While DJ continues to fight at flyweight, there are still multiple options left for him to face that would be major fights. For example, if he were to move up or chase another belt at Batam, we could potentially see fights against the champion and former UFC fighter John Lineker or Bibiano Fernandez who many hardcore fans know as one of the greatest talents to never have fought in the UFC or the mainstream spotlight. A rematch however with Adriano Moraes (20-3), is one that most fans would love to see especially since Adriano seems to be hitting his stride and is looking like a future star in the making should he continue to have this success. The fact that DJ is with One Fc gives the fighter so many different opportunities that he and us the fans would never get to see. 

At this point in his career, Dj seems to be having more fun than ever before and not to mention he has a plethora of knowledge that could help any fighter looking to reach his levels of success. It appears Demetrious feels more personal freedom to chase different opportunities and keep trying his skills as a Martial artist and not just another fighter stuck doing what the promotion tells him. For example in a recent interview, he gave former champion Brandon Moreno some career advice by telling him not to do what every fighter does and chase the belt or the money as both will eventually come if he is worthy of it. 

 

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