The Conor McGregor retirement saga and the return of Jon Jones somewhat overshadowed Demetrious Johnson’s apparent toughest title defence to date in the build up to UFC 197, but ‘Mighty Mouse’ did what he does best by making short work of Olympic gold medallist Henry Cejudo.
When Cejudo was announced back in December, as the next in line to face Johnson, some wondered if it was too soon for the relatively inexperienced flyweight. With a lack of contenders at 125lbs available, mostly because Johnson has beaten them all, Cejudo was given the nod. Johnson had never faced a grappler of the level of ‘The Messenger’ but it was clear after the first grappling exchange that Cejudo’s perceived advantage was non-existent.
Cejudo was able to take Johnson down just two minutes into the fight but the champion simply pushed the elite wrestler off him with his legs. It was a feat of pure strength and it bore the beginning of the end for the 29-year-old.
Shortly after ‘Mighty Mouse’ landed several knees from inside the clinch and sent the challenger staggering across the cage. Johnson followed up with a straight left before dropping his opponent with more knees and finished the fight with an emphatic flurry of punches to the grounded Cejudo.
— BT Sport UFC (@btsportufc) April 24, 2016
Johnson’s win took him to eight straight title defences, just two behind Anderson Silva’s all-time record of ten. Winning in such a devastating fashion put the pressure on Jones to emulate the flyweight champ’s performance to cement his place as the pound-for-pound number one. Jones’ performance was far from his best in taking a unanimous decision victory over Ovince Saint Preux.
Joe Rogan, a long time advocate for ‘Mighty Mouse’ to be considered the pound-for-pound number one, said in his post-fight interview with the flyweight king:
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’re the best pound-for-pound fighter I’ve ever seen.”
A statement which seemed to resonate with UFC president Dana White, as he agreed with Rogan’s theory:
“If you don’t agree with it now, I just don’t know what to tell you,” White said.
Now only two fights away from equalling Silva’s all-time record for title defences, Johnson is possibly the greatest of all time and certainly the current pound-for-pound king.
Paul O’Dea, Pundit Arena