Crunch Time: Demetrious Johnson a fighter anyone can get behind

Note: This is a Crunch Time column I wrote for the April 20 issue for the Cheney Free Press.

UFC flyweight (125 pounds) champion “Mighty Mouse” Demetrious Johnson recently declared that he is “the best champion to stand in the octagon.”

That’s not hard to argue — and I’m not saying that because of his fight last Saturday with Brazilian challenger Wilson Reis. Late in the third round of their fight, Johnson took Reis to the ground and managed to get side control before transitioning to the full mount and locking in an armbar to submit his opponent.

The reason that Johnson’s bold proclamation is not necessarily false is because he has now tied the record for most UFC title defenses with 10. The only other fighter to boast that claim is former middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who accomplished the feat in July 2012 — two months before Johnson began his run as UFC flyweight champion. Of the UFC’s 11 champions, Johnson is the only fighter to have held his belt for more than two years. But Johnson doesn’t want to stop at 10 title defenses. During a post-fight interview, he said “next time we’re in the octagon, I’m going to break it,” referring to the record.

I first watched Johnson fight in 2010 when he was under contract for World Extreme Cagefighting. One of his highlight performances was against Damacio Page, who he submitted with a guillotine choke. Like many longtime fight fans, I was thrilled when he signed his UFC contract in 2011 and defeated the highly touted Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto in his octagon debut.

To read the rest of the column, follow the link.


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