Demetrious Johnson has pulled even with MMA greatness and he’s looking to distance himself from the pack.
Johnson was able to tie longtime UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva’s record of ten consecutive title defenses with a third round submission of Wilson Reis live on Fox Saturday night. Johnson won the first two rounds handily. Johnson was able to take side control on the ground in the third round and was able to lock in the armbar while Reis was attempting to protect himself from a barrage of strikes from “Mighty Mouse.”
Reis the latest casualty of a dominant championship by Johnson that began unassumingly back in September 2012 with a split decision win over Joseph Benavidez at UFC 152 in Toronto. Johnson has been active, fighting at least twice in every calendar year since winning the belt. He’s beaten every top contender UFC has presented him, a couple of them twice.
The natural question at this point is, what’s next? Johnson has been open to the possibility of a move up to bantamweight, but anything short of a fight to break Silva’s record wouldn’t make sense.
Johnson seems to understand the importance of the record-setting fight. “For me, I’m just focused on making history,” he told the media at the post-fight press conference last night. “Eleven title defenses, and then I have options.”
Johnson’s options may be limited to fights at 135 pounds and up as, after five years of dominance, the options at 125 are running thin.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: The logical fight for the potential record-breaker has to be Joseph Benavidez. As much as Benavidez must hate being used as a vehicle for Demetrious Johnson to cement his legacy with, he will likely jump at the opportunity. The motivation of playing spoiler and erasing the two prior losses could make for a different version of Joseph Benavidez than we saw the first two times out. The first fight was close, and Johnson has grown a lot since then, but so has Benavidez so you can never count him out.
I think you have to consider Johnson the top pound for pound fighter in the world. The MMATorch staff Rankings have had him at the top for many many months. Some will argue for Jon Jones, but when you account for each fighter’s level of activity and drug testing record, Johnson is head and shoulders above Jon Jones and everyone else.
SUNDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Post-fight bonuses went to Tim Elliott and Louis Smolka for Fight of the Night, Robert Whittaker for his stunning TKO of Jacare Souza, and to Demetrious Johnson for his submission of Wilson Reis.
-Despite being an exciting show, last night’s UFC on Fox event averaged only 1.74 million viewers in the overnight ratings, the lowest ever for a UFC on Fox event.
-Mario Yamasaki defended what some called an early stoppage of the Robert Whittaker vs. Jacare Souza fight. He told MMA Fighting: “I don’t know if you saw it, but Jacare went out on the ground, was punched and came back, and ate three more strong elbows, and I decided it was better to stop the fight because, in my opinion, Whittaker would only let him come back up to knock him down again and beat him up. To preserve him, who was no longer intelligently defending himself, I decided to stop the fight.”
-Last night’s event from Kansas City drew 12,171 fans paying a live gate of $1.08 million.
RIZIN RESULTS FROM JAPAN
Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Anthony Birchak via unanimous decision
Amir Aliakbari def. Geronimo dos Santos via TKO – Round 1
Kyoji Horiguchi def. Yuki Motoya via unanimous decision
Rena Kubota def. Dora Perjes via TKO – Round 1
Tenshin Nasukawa def. Francesco Ghigliotti via TKO – Round 1
Satoshi Ishii def. Heath Herring via unanimous decision
Reina Miura def. Jazzy Gabert via submission – Round 2
Yusuke Yachi def Daron Cruickshank via knockout – Round 1
Saori Ishioka def. Bestare Kicaj via submission – Round 1
Kanna Asakura def. Aleksandra Toncheva via unanimous decision
Seiichiro Ito def. Kizaemon Saiga via unanimous decision
Post-fight UFC on Fox Press Conference Video: CLICK HERE
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 4/15: Cris Cyborg upset with UFC, Mike Goldberg rumors, Mauro Ranallo, Frank Shamrock (w/Henry’s Analysis)