On Saturday night at UFC 216, Demetrious Johnson not only set a record for consecutive title defenses at 11, he also pulled off what could be one of the most extraordinary finishes in the UFC. With two minutes left in the fifth round, “Mighty Mouse” suplexed Ray Borg, then extended Borg’s left arm mid-air before locking in and finishing the submission as he landed on the mat.
But for Johnson, it was just a matter of time before he would finally be able to use this weapon he claims he has in his arsenal all along. During Monday’s edition of the MMA Hour, the reigning flyweight champion talked in detail about how he set-up the entire sequence.
“It’s always been in my back pocket, in my toolbox, but I never try to force submissions,” Johnson told Ariel Helwani (via MMA Fighting). “When you start trying to force things, that’s when you over-extend, you make mistakes. And so for that, it was just the perfect timing, man.”
“(Head coach) Matt (Hume) has been working with me on shifting people’s weights when they’re trying to be heavy,” he continued. “And then once Ray Borg threw that back elbow, he took his weight off, he went to focus on planting, so I purposefully started kneeing him in the legs, just getting his mind on something else.”
“So once he goes, ‘back elbow,’ thank you, you just moved your weight for me, now you just became lighter. Then threw him up and that’s why I was able to execute that.”
Now that he has accomplished a feat that no one else has in the UFC, Johnson is looking to take a momentary break in fighting, before thinking about his next move. He also plans to just enjoy the fruits of all his hard work.
“To go through 11 title training camps is just hard on the body, man. I put more miles on my body (in training) than I do fighting, so this was a huge one for me,” Johnson said. “And I told everybody, like, ‘Dude, I don’t even want to think about fighting my next fight until the beginning of the year.’ So this one was [important].”
“Nobody in the history of mixed martial arts itself, DREAM, Pride, ONE FC, LFA, Titan, Strikeforce, I can just go on, Rizin — nobody, not even one champion, has defended a title eight times as a male or female, and I just did 11? So this is a big f--king deal and it means a lot to me.”