Flyweight Demetrious Johnson didn’t always dream of being a UFC champion. In fact, he never even contemplated a career in MMA until being drawn in by what he witnessed on the Ultimate Fighter. “Mighty Mouse” has since emerged as one of the most talented competitors in the sport, blending polished technique and a wrestling base with an uncanny quickness.
Johnson will get a chance to prove himself in historic fashion in a week when he faces Joseph Benavidez for the UFC’s inaugural flyweight title, a prize he’s sacrificed a lot for over the past few years.
“Winning the UFC flyweight title means everything to me. I first walked into (trainer) Matt Hume’s gym after catching an episode of the Ultimate Fighter, the season with Rashad Evans in it and wanted to be UFC champion,” explained Johnson in an interview with the UFC, admitting he didn’t even know the company didn’t have a weight-class for athletes his size.
While Johnson is currently fighting as a 125-pounder, the 26-year old also excelled at 135 pounds where he challenged for the championship but ultimately came up short. Still, with some more time, Johnson is confident he could hold titles in two divisions starting with the flyweight belt.
“I think I could have won the bantamweight title, but 125 pounds is where my body performs best and I think, as a flyweight, I have the chance to do some really cool things,” said Johnson, adding, “Being at 125 pounds, I think I’m the fastest fighter in the UFC.
The bout between Benavidez and Johnson will serve as the co-headliner at UFC 152. The 15-2-1 Johnson earned his spot in the title-fight by beating Ian McCall, while Benavidez’s knockout of Yasuhiro Urushitani did the same trick while also improving his overall record to 16-2.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC