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5 reasons Demetrious Johnson is still one of the GOATs despite his loss at ONE on TNT 1

UFC Fight Night: Johnson v Reis
UFC Fight Night: Johnson v Reis
Modified 08 Apr 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

In a shocking turn of events, Demetrious Johnson suffered the first knockout of his professional MMA career ONE on TNT 1.

It was an upset of epic proportions as Demetrious Johnson, who's considered as one of the best mixed martial artists in history, lost to reigning ONE Bantamweight Champion Adriano Moraes – a virtually unknown fighter to mainstream MMA fans. Johnson was the challenger in the matchup, but it feels as though he was the one to be dethroned.

In the aftermath of ONE on TNT 1, an argument could be made that Demetrious Johnson's legacy is forever tainted. However, a single loss – no matter how brutal – should never be used against 'Mighty Mouse' and his case as one of the greatest fighters of all time.

On that note, let's take a look at five reasons why Demetrious Johnson is still a GOAT despite his loss at ONE on TNT 1.

#5 Demetrious Johnson is past his prime

UFC 227 Dillashaw v Garbrandt 2
UFC 227 Dillashaw v Garbrandt 2

In sports, one thing is an unchangeable constant. Time eventually catches up to every athlete, even ones as gifted as Demetrious Johnson.

After going on a legendary six-year run as UFC flyweight champion, Johnson's decline in the cage is an inevitability. In fact, there have been warning signs of Demetrious Johnson's downturn even before Adriano Moraes exposed it.

In his final fight in the octagon, Mighty Mouse was expected to comfortably defend his flyweight crown against Henry Cejudo at UFC 227. Instead, 'Mighty Mouse' dropped the title after losing a razor thin split decision.


When he got to ONE Championship, he submitted Yuya Wakamatsu in his debut but failed to finish Tatsumitsu Wada and Danny Kingad – two fighters who are far less experienced and as successful as Johnson.

#4 Demetrious Johnson stayed clean

Failed drug tests have marred the legacies of many all-time great fighters. In fact, Jon Jones's claim as the greatest MMA fighter ever would have been untouchable if it weren't for his multiple violations of the UFC anti-doping policy.

Demetrious Johnson, throughout his 14-year career, has had zero positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs and other prohibited substances. More than that, Demetrious Johnson was so confident in his abilities that he doesn't even care if his opponents are pumping their bodies with PEDs.

"I don't care if my opponents are cheating or not," Mighty Mouse Johnson told Ariel Helwani in 2014. "I train my butt off to fight the man who is put in front of me whether he's on steroids or not. I want to play on a level playing field, but if they knew about it beforehand and didn't stop it, at the same time, I took care of business. No big deal."

Demetrious Johnson made these comments after he steamrolled Ali Bagautinov in five rounds at UFC 174. After the bout, it was revealed that Bagautinov failed a pre-fight drug screening.

#3 Demetrious Johnson's legacy is intact

UFC Fight Night: Johnson v Reis
UFC Fight Night: Johnson v Reis

Not many could achieve what Demetrious Johnson has done in the UFC. Not only did Mighty successfully defend his title for five years, but he also cleaned out the flyweight division thoroughly.

UFC stars John Dodson, Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo are among the fighters who have failed to overthrow Johnson during his reign of terror.

Right now, the only thing Demetrious Johnson wants to prove is that he can bounce back after a devastating loss. But even if he decides to retire today, his legacy will still go down as one of the greatest careers in MMA.

#2 Demetrious Johnson's defeat is forgivable


Despite losing as a heavy favorite, Demetrious Johnson's knockout loss to Adriano Moraes isn't all that bad when you analyze the facts.

After all, 31-year-old Adriano Moraes is three years younger than Johnson and he also had a significant advantage in size and reach. Mighty Mouse faced Moraes in ONE Championship's bantamweight division, in which a fighter can come in as heavy as 145 pounds. That's a huge step up from the 125-pound weight limit that Johnson fought at in the UFC.

On top of that, Mighty Mouse was put away by a knee strike that's banned in the UFC cage. Granted, Johnson was advocating for the legalization of kneeing a downed opponent in the Octagon, but perhaps his instinct to defend against it did not kick in as he was still used to fighting under UFC rules.

#1 It's not yet over for Demetrious Johnson

UFC 227 Dillashaw v Garbrandt 2
UFC 227 Dillashaw v Garbrandt 2

At the end of the day, Demetrious Johnson's MMA career is far from over. Mighty Mouse assured his fans that he "will be back" after suffering the biggest setback of his career.

Johnson could avenge this loss against Adriano Moraes if ONE Championship gives him another title opportunity. And if 'Mighty Mouse' gets a rematch against Adriano Moraes, you best believe that one of the most cerebral fighters in the game will come in with a better strategy.

Published 08 Apr 2021, 16:00 IST
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