5 best performances of Demetrious Johnson's career

Demetrious Johnson is one of the greatest MMA fighters ever. (Image courtesy of ONE Championship)
Demetrious Johnson is one of the greatest MMA fighters ever. (Image courtesy of ONE Championship)

You cannot talk about MMA's greatest of all time without having Demetrious Johnson in the conversation. No other fighter in the world, past or present, has ever heard Bruce Buffer say the words "and still" more than 'Mighty Mouse'.

His legendary flyweight title run, spanning 2012 to 2016, set the record for most consecutive UFC title defenses at 11; a record that most likely will never be broken.

It was hard enough to stay on top for so long, but Johnson did so with barely anyone giving him any serious problems.

He was the Michael Jordan of the sport and no one in his division came close. Even his lone defeat at flyweight, a razor-close split decision against Henry Cejudo, is heavily debated even to this day.

'Mighty Mouse' is known to be one of the fastest MMA fighters ever. Johnson's freestyle wrestling background shows his athleticism in darting in and out of range to either score blast double leg takedowns or land combinations inside. He then uses his fast feet to quickly glide out of his opponents' reach after every exchange.

Johnson also has an uncanny vision of seeing counter-strike opportunities whilst in the middle of chaos.

When it comes to the ground, Johnson is a nightmare to deal with. He is extremely explosive and runs at a pace that is almost impossible to control. As for his fight IQ, well, it's head-and-shoulders above most fighters, pound-for-pound.

Simply put, not a lot of fighters in history have a holistic skillset with the same level of expertise and technique as Demetrious Johnson.

Watch this highlight video by YouTube user Fighters Promo and marvel at Johnson's MMA greatness:


Ever since his landmark signing with ONE Championship, Johnson has been on a tear in their 135-pound division. He won ONE's flyweight World Grand Prix belt in his first year in the promotion.

'Mighty Mouse' is now bound for a special-rules bout with ONE flyweight Muay Thai champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon at ONE: X on March 26.

Ahead of his historic clash with the Muay Thai legend, let's look back at the MMA archives and rank Demetrious Johnson's five best MMA performances.

#5. Demetrious Johnson vs. Yuya Wakamatsu - ONE Championship: A New Era

Speaking of ONE Championship, Johnson's debut in the Asian promotion was as entertaining as it was surprising.

Against Yuya 'Little Piranha' Wakamatsu, Johnson was given one of the tougher fights of his career. Johnson was a hot topic for the Singapore-based promotion and was expected to steamroll the division, starting with Wakamatsu.

The Japanese warrior, however, surprised everyone (including Johnson) as he matched the former UFC great's frenetic pace on the feet. He also stuffed almost all of Johnson's takedown attempts and even landed on top at one point.

Come the second round, Johnson proved his champion's mindset yet again as he out-classed Wakamatsu after a challenging first round.

He scored his trademark double-leg in the middle of a striking exchange and dominated the Japanese from top position. Johnson's mastery of scrambles allowed him to sink a nasty guillotine choke to force Wakamatsu to tap.

Watch the full fight here:


#4. Demetrious Johnson vs. Wilson Reis - UFC on Fox: Johson vs. Reis

Johnson tied the record for most consecutive UFC title defenses with 10 in this dominant finish of Brazilian Wilson Reis. The fight didn't look like a fight but a straight execution from start to finish. It looked like a cat toying with a mouse.

'Mighty Mouse' peppered the then-No.3-ranked Reis with jabs and kicks at will before deftly slipping out of reach.

After knocking the Brazilian down near the end of the third round, the then-jiu-jitsu purple belt Johnson clamped an armbar on his blackbelt foe. Reis didn't have a choice but to tap or his arm would break.

Pundits were predicting Reis's only chance of winning was via submission on the ground. Demetrious Johnson, however, masterfully beat the jiu-jitsu black belt in his own game. Aside from the record-tying feat, the submission was extra sweet considering Reis's grappling pedigree.

#3. Demetrious Johson vs. Kyoji Horiguchi - UFC 186

This fight proved Demetrious Johnson's relentless pursuit of greatness. Against Japanese MMA standout Kyoji Horiguchi, who was 15-1 at the time, Johnson showed how he's a god among men.

Much like Reis, Horiguchi was never in a position to put Johnson in any sort of danger. We're not talking about connecting with a strong punch to hurt Demetrious Johnson; the Japanese was never in any scenario to even land a solid one.

What puts this performance on our list, however, is how the match ended. After utterly dominating all five rounds of the fight, Demetrious Johnson never relented and continually hunted for the finish.

In the closing moments of the fight, DJ slapped on his trademark armbar to score the tap with just a second left in the fight. It's officially the latest finish in UFC history at 4:59 of the fifth round.

Watch this detailed highlight video by YouTube user Larone:


#2. Demetrious Johson vs. Joseph Benavidez II - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Benavidez II

Just over a year after winning the inaugural flyweight belt, Demetrious Johnson single-handedly legitimized the division with one punch.

At the time, the UFC's 125-pound weight class was in its infancy and not a lot of people saw its potential yet. Fans seemed to think that the lower weight classes didn't have the finishing power compared to heavier weight divisions.

Against the man he won the title from a year prior, Johnson silenced his critics by separating Joseph 'Joe-Jitsu' Benavidez from his senses.

Their first fight went to a close split decision and betting odds were split down the middle. Benavidez had never been stopped before and was coming off a dominant three-fight winning streak after losing his title fight against Johnson. The KO punch shook the foundations of the MMA world.

Staying on top is one thing, but single-handedly putting a division on the map is a different level of greatness altogether. That's why this win deserves a spot on our list.

#1. Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg - UFC 216

What more can be said about this one? Demetrious Johnson's historic record-setting win over Ray Borg was peak MMA greatness.

After tying the record for most consecutive UFC title defenses at 10, 'Mighty Mouse' broke said record in the most awe-inspiring way. The birth of the "Mighty Wiz-bar" showed how Demetrious Johnson is so much better than everybody that he invents moves on the fly.

As per the usual Demetrious Johnson fight, it was utter domination from round one to five. After seemingly getting bored of beating the living hell out of Borg, Johnson did something that can only be seen in movies.

The 12-time defending champion picked up his challenger in a back suplex and transitioned the hold to an armbar mid-air. Read that again. He changed a suplex to an armbar mid-way. That's just nuts and that's why it's at the top of our list.

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Edited by Harvey Leonard