Demetrious Johnson lived his life in UFC as a sole flyweight king. With his sublime feats on UFC’s canvas, the Mighty Mouse has amassed accolades that a fighter could only fantasize of acquiring in a pro career. Before inking his deal with ONE championship, Johnson’s UFC career spans over a period of 8 years that earned him laurel of inaugural former UFC flyweight champion, successfully defending his title for 11 times, marking him the only fighter in UFC to have retained his belt for so long. He is the sole flyweight artist to have the most takedowns with 10 of them from three different fights. His unmatched caliber and artistry has named him as one of the greatest MMA fighters by key personnel and organizations such as ESPN, MMA Weekly etc.
With his significantly small stature and a humble nature, Mighty Mouse skills on the canvas are as deadly as a serpent in the hiding. Known for his lightning fast striking, the former UFC champ ranks at #1 for pound-for-pound and #1 flyweight artist at Sherdog.
With such colossal achievements right under his belt, there isn’t something more that Demetrious Johnson could have wished to accomplish. Except it to call it a day and move on. And this is what exactly the flyweight king did.
Last week, Johnson struck a deal with ONE Championship that swapped him with former ONE Championship artist Ben Askren. Now that the deal is official, Ben Askren will be fighting under UFC’s banner while Mighty Mouse would be part of ONE Championship’s roster. The deal is the first of its kind in the history of MMA.
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With Demetrious Johnson finally moving on, an era of unmatched excellence under UFC’s roof has also come to a close. The American debuted as a flyweight champion on Sep 22, 2012. The victory acted as a stepping stone for the fighter, as he went on to defend his title for 11 times, setting a higher bar than Anderson Silva who records at 10 title defenses. During his winning streak, the former flyweight champion finished off seven of his rivals, one being Ray Borg in 2017, which earned him Submission of the Year accolade.
This year in August he finally lost his title. Dubbed as one of the best MMA fighter, he could have demanded a rematch, but he decided to embrace defeat honorably and end his ties with the promotion. While his poised stance has got many fighters question their approach towards the sport, it has certainly earned Mighty Johnson immense respect. According to the fighter,
“I leave the UFC with no regrets, on good terms. I believe I’ve accomplished everything I could there. Defended the belt 11 times. I won a fight every single way you could possibly think of – knockout, a submission that nobody’s ever seen before. I’ve done everything I can over there. I think me coming to ONE Championship, there’s a lot of new goals. A lot of fresh things. A lot of fresh matchups.”
While his departure from UFC marks the beginning of new era on ONE Championship’s turf, the artist may test his caliber in other disciplines that the promotion offers such as Kickboxing and Muay Thai. But before he steps his foot in other realms, he is excited about his première performance in January or February.
“This is different. The guys in Asia, they’ve been doing it since they were 3, 4 years old. So they bring a different style of mixed martial arts to the table. Training with Bibiano (Fernandes), he says everybody over there is so much trickier. They’re sharper. So I’m looking forward to the challenge to see if I’m prepared for this.”
Do you want to see Demetrious Johnson compete in MMA, Muay Thai or Kickboxing?