Written by: @MMAFEEN
Did we see the p4p king in UFC216?
UFC 216 on October 7, 2017 in Las Vegas will very well go down as a great event overall, but more importantly; it will be remembered in the history books because of Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson. This is ‘Mighty mouse’s’ 11th consecutive title defence, breaking the UFC’s champion’s title defence record previously held by Anderson Silva (10 defences). In this relatively new sport the accolades are beyond impressive and something which will probably not be broken for a ‘mighty’ (pun intended) long time.
At UFC 216 Demetrious Johnson (DJ) put on a masterclass vs Raymond Anthony ‘Ray Borg’, a virtuoso performance of free following transitions, finished by a sublime submission, something I have never seen before – a suplex straight into an armbar in the fifth round. DJ calls it the ‘Mighty Wiz-bar’.
Dj in his post-fight interview about his big win states : ‘it’s awesome, when I first got the belt back in 2012 and defended it…one after another after another, staying healthy, taking on new challenges, the rematches to see who has evolved, it’s awesome. It’s an awesome feeling. It just feels really good to not hear Anderson Silva’s name next to mine anymore, now it’s ‘who has the longest reigning title defences?’ Demetrious Johnson does!’
Dj talks further about his skillset and what makes him special ‘[my] skillset is to be able to move fluidly through the aspect of mixed martial arts…I look at my opponent and see what they are good at and then I try to take it away from them and then I look for the submission or finish.
It is clear Dj just seems to be getting better with each fight, with three of his last four bouts stoppages. However, with all that being said, many fail to give the 125 pound champ credit maybe due to size or competition he faces, but at this point, he has become undeniable. Truth is, we may very well be looking at the greatest mixed martial artist to compete; is he the pound for pound king?
To answer that we have to take into account just how skilful he is. If we define pound for pound as amount of skill per pound, who’s fighting style would be triumphant if weight wasn’t relative.
Generally speaking the higher the weight, the lower the skill needed (as the heavy weights can rely more on power rather than finesse).
Finesse/ technique per pound
Power/ brute strength technique
MMA expert and head coach of Tristar, Firas Zahabi evaluates this weight disparity theory as, because the smaller guys are at a disadvantage they have to perfect and find new ways to close the gap, whereas larger opponents are rarely forced to rely solely on techniques. This is something quite evident with DJ as all aspects of his game have been perfected and are very much calculated to his clinch work, conditioning, scrambling, boxing/ muay thai etc.
As it currently stands in the rankings if we take out those who have had allegations to banned substances (Jon Jones), DJ stands clear above the rest.
ESPY’s Fighter of the Year award 2017
UFC Flyweight Champion (1 time, inaugural, current)
Most successful title defences in flyweight division history (eleven)
Most consecutive title defences in UFC history (eleven)
While other champions had/have good consecutive wins, DJ is finishing oppositions in impressive fashion from unanimous decisions, to TKO’s/KO’s, to submissions – he just seems to just keep improving and always looking for the finish, whether it is by submitting Wilson Reis the BJJ black belt by armbar or submitting Kyoji Horiguchi to earn latest finish. No doubt he has reigned, dominated and defended in the flyweight division but yet lacks the appreciation that he deserves considering how good he is inside and outside the octagon. Perhaps this is his own curse as many feel that the 125lb division lacks depth compared to the other divisions.
In his recent interview on the MMA hour (09/10/2017) DJ states that he would much rather be a champion that defends his belt further instead of going up in weight for more challenges.
‘Staying at 125, it was the easiest weight cut I ever had…going up to that weight class [135lbs] I want to be well compensated, these guys are taking concussions, I’m not in the business of taking concussions. I don’t see why I would leave when I have cemented this legacy, why not set it to 15, there will come another guy who will be aiming to break my record, my job is to set the bar high’.
Many fans criticise this stating he should now move up to face more difficult challenges and ideally this would be best, to really see how well his skills translates in other divisions. In the 135 division, he has the much anticipated fights with either Dominick Cruz or T.J. Dillashaw or challenge for the belt. Nonetheless, I think in DJ’s eyes where money, fame, admiration from fans would be great, I think he has his heart set on setting a record number that in maybe 10 years from now athletes are still aspiring to get close to. Perhaps the quote by Bruce lee is fitting:
‘A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves as something to aim at’