UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious ”˜Mighty Mouse’ Johnson was always into sports. Johnson’s love for competition started in his high school wrestling room, and although he competed in baseball and cross country running, he really enjoyed wrestling. Johnson excelled in just about every sport he competed in, but by his senior year he was ranked number 2 in the state in wrestling.
After going undefeated as an amateur 135 pounder Johnson took his first professional mma bout in April of 2007. Johnson’s first fight wouldn’t even see the one minute mark as he landed a solid left hand that knocked out his opponent. The win would kick off a ten fight winning streak that would eventually lead him him to the WEC. Of the ten wins, only two of the bouts would be decided by the judges, but it was the head kick knockout win over former EliteXC champion Jesse Brock that would get him the call to fight in the WEC.
While still working a full time job, Johnson was asked to take on the always tough Brad Pickett. Johnson would step into the cage undefeated at 10-0, but when the dust settled the judges decided unanimously that Pickett won the contest. Johnson went back to the drawing board and before the year was out he would have two WEC decision wins over Nick Pace and Damacio Page respectfully. These fights would be the last two times Johnson stepped foot in the WEC cage as the parent company of the UFC had purchased the organization.
Johnson made his UFC debut against Japanese standout Norifumi Yamamoto. The two would lock horns at UFC 126 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and after three rounds Johns had accomplished one of his long term goals to win a fight in the UFC octagon. After defeating former WEC Bantamweight Champion Miguel Torres at UFC 130 by decision, it was announced that he would face off against current UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz. In the five round fight, it was Cruz who was able to dominate the smaller Johnson and defend his UFC title by decision, but this would be the last time size would be an issue for him.
UFC officials announced that they would be starting a flyweight division in the UFC, and in order to crown a champion they would have a four man tournament. In his first fight at flyweight, Johnson would take on former Tachi Palace Fighting Flyweight Champion Ian McCall, and when the scores were read it was Johnson who was announced the winner. When the card was over, the commission realized that they had added the scores wrong and the two fought to a majority draw. Even though there was a provision in place to have a fourth round in case of a draw, the card was over and there was nothing the UFC could do but have a rematch. Three months later, Johnson would fight McCall a second time and pick up the win via unanimous decision and advance into the tournament final against Joseph Benavidez.
At UFC 152, Johnson would face off against Benavidez in the co main event. The two would go back and forth for 5 hard rounds and when it was over the UFC had crowned Johnson their first Flyweight Champion. Johnson would have his first title defense on one of the biggest stages the UFC has. It was announced that he would take on John Dodson in the main event to be broadcasted live on FOX in Chicago, IL. Johnson and Dodson would go back and forth in a fight of the night performance, and it was Johnson who would successfully defend his belt and remain champion.
Courtesy of the UFC:
Some criticism of Johnson had been mounting for some time that not only was Johnson not able to finish fights, but the flyweight division in general wasn’t seeing a lot of fights decided without the judges. After getting married and announcing his wife was pregnant, Johnson would have the opportunity to prove everyone wrong. The UFC announced a UFC On FOX event for Seattle, Washington, and Johnson would have the chance to make his second title defense in front of his hometown against John Moraga. A few weeks out from the bout, Johnson would become a father for the first time. Johnson was well on his way to picking up a decision in the fifth round. He had dominated the whole fight, but when Moraga left his arm out in a scramble, Johnson grabbed it and got his first UFC finish via armbar.
Johnson is set to defend his title his title this Saturday in the main event at UFC On FOX 9 in a rematch against Joseph Benavidez.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports