UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has gradually become more and more outspoken the longer his title reign has lasted. Now that the top P4P fighter has held his belt for almost four years, you're usually going to get a pretty frank answer when you ask Mighty Mouse a question. And at a Q&A ahead of a recent UFC event in Salt Lake City, Johnson was very blunt about the ABC's proposed change to a rule about knees to a grounded opponent in the Unified Rules of MMA.
The current rule makes kneeing an opponent to the head illegal if they have one hand on the mat. The proposed alteration would change that to two hands on the mat, which means only one hand would make it a legal knee. Regardless of the change, Johnson isn't a fan of fighters that use the tactic to avoid getting hit in the first place. And he wants more PRIDE-like rules, with stomps and head kicks on the ground (transcribed by MMA Junkie):
"I think fighters who are preparing to use this as a tactic not to get hit are idiots and they’re not true martial artists. For me? I like it. I’d rather have head stomps and kicks to the head on the ground rather than elbows because I think to kick someone in the head while they’re laying on their back is very hard. Elbows are easy. You can be here and I just cut you and won the fight.
"For this, I think now the rule is that (touching two hands to the ground) is a downed opponent. That’s still the same thing. Don’t hit me please! No! It’s so stupid."
He went further on his admiration for PRIDE rules as well, hoping that yellow cards would come back among other things:
"That’s one of the things I loved about PRIDE, the first round was ten minutes," Johnson said. "A lot of (expletive) can happen in ten minutes. Then the second round would happen, you have another five minutes. Then the third round would happen, you have another five minutes. That’s why I liked the PRIDE rules."
It's unlikely that soccer kicks or a 10-minute first round are going to happen anytime soon, but yellow cards are still an idea that I think the Unified Rules could incorporate in some way. For now, we'll just have to settle for minor changes to the grounded opponent rule.
Johnson will return to the octagon in December to defend his title against the winner of TUF 24.