Former UFC flyweight champion turned ONE FC contender Demetrious Johnson was once considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world but, despite his record-breaking reign as champ (11 consecutive title defenses), ‘Mighty Mouse’ was never held in the same high regard as former — and current — greats such as Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones.
Top-three UFC bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling isn’t sure why that’s the case but, now that Johnson is no longer in the UFC, the Serra-Longo product has come to realize just how dominant ‘DJ’ was up until his title loss to Henry ‘Triple C’ Cejudo at UFC 227.
“It really makes you wonder about the whole thing with ‘Mighty Mouse’ — when he was the reigning, defending champion at flyweight, all these guys looked very, very normal,” Sterling said in a recent episode of his podcast, per The Body Lock’s Abhinav Kini.
“But when they ran into title contention and got a shot at the champ, a lot of them failed. All of them failed, except Henry Cejudo. He was the only one to not fail even though I still think he lost the fight or at worst, it was a draw.
“It should let you wonder and appreciate how good these guys really are and show you how good ‘Mighty Mouse’ really is for him to be so dominant for so long. As soon as he leaves, everyone starts to appreciate all these other guys. But ‘Mighty Mouse’ was dispatching these guys like it was nothing. So when you think of it like that, the division was never dead. It was just being super dominated by one man in Demetrious Johnson.”
Sterling, who is on an impressive four-fight win streak, went on to compare Johnson to pound-for-pound phenom and reigning UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, who is considered the most dominant fighter of all time.
“Now you can look at something like that in the Jon Jones aspect,” Sterling said. “Now, Jon Jones is starting to go to a lot more decisions now. So now people are starting to say the light heavyweight division is boring, because it’s not.
“I think flyweight has always been exciting. I think people just weren’t paying attention to it enough because of the champ.”
Johnson has continued his winning ways in Asian MMA promotion ONE FC, as the 32-year-old recently advanced to the flyweight grand prix finals after beating Tatsumitsu Wada via unanimous decision at ONE Championship: Dawn of Heroes.