In the world of MMA, nothing is ever for certain, but right now most fans and observers agree on one thing – Demetrious Johnson is pound-for-pound the best fighter on the planet. Ranked as #1 in the UFC’s official rankings, nobody really comes close to the Flyweight kingpin right now.
While he’s had some detractors, any criticism usually falls upon his lack of marketable personality rather than his fighting skills – and even that may be beginning to change, as the fan reaction for him has slowly been getting more positive as of his most recent fights. Whether he can translate that into PPV buys is another matter, but there’s no disputing his greatness.
Is he the greatest fighter of all time, though? It’s certainly an argument that could be made right now, and here are five reasons to support that thinking.
#1 He’s got the record for the number of UFC title defences
Criticise the quality of the Flyweight division all you like, but the bottom line is that Demetrious Johnson has the most successful title defences in UFC history with eleven. He’s defended his title against strikers, grapplers, brawlers and everything in between and he’s always come out on top. And really, can you knock his level of opposition?
Okay, so Chris Cariaso and Tim Elliott were more journeymen than top contenders, and Kyoji Horiguchi was perhaps granted his title shot a little too early. But outside of those? Joseph Benavidez – twice beaten by Johnson – hasn’t lost to anyone else in the UFC and pushed Dominick Cruz all the way in a Bantamweight title bout in 2010.
John Dodson is currently ranked within the top ten at 135lbs, Henry Cejudo is one of the greatest wrestlers in MMA history period, and Ray Borg, John Moraga and Wilson Reis all remain highly dangerous opponents for anyone.
Just because the 125lbs division isn’t the most mouth-watering one doesn’t mean it doesn’t have quality fighters. And Anderson Silva – whose record of ten title defences was broken by DJ in October – didn’t always fight the best possible contenders either, snacking on Patrick Cote and Thales Leites amongst others. However you look at it, eleven title defences is a phenomenal record and supports DJ’s claim as the greatest of all time.