Demetrious Johnson doesn’t regret not opting for UFC champ status

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Former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has a different outlook than many UFC champions in recent years.

Johnson did not view possessing two shiny UFC gold belts simultaneously — champion-champion status — as his ultimate goal. Instead, Johnson (30-4-1) made it his mission to become the most dominant champion the UFC had ever seen, which meant focusing on just one weight class.

“At the time I was doing it, I was so focused and determined to break that record,” Johnson told MMA Junkie on Monday. “I was set. Anderson Silva set that record with 10 title defenses, and I was aiming for that, because that’s history.

“I think once I hit 11, and if the opportunity and the conditions had been right for the superfight at 135, I think I would have done it. But that just never happened.

Even four years after leaving the UFC for ONE Championship, Johnson still holds the record for most consecutive title defenses in a division. He held the UFC flyweight title from 2012 to 2018 and defended it 11 times before losing by split decision in a rematch against Henry Cejudo.

Johnson’s achievement might not stand out as much as the highly marketable feat of holding two UFC titles simultaneously, but ‘Mighty Mouse’ still thinks being consistent in a division is much harder and more prestigious than moving up a category. of weight and claim a title there.

“I think staying in the division and doing 5,6,7,8, 9,10, 11 is very difficult,” Johnson explained. “Being consistent, cutting weight, etc. The champion-champion, you win a fight and boom, you’re done. But consistency is what is difficult. I mean, it’s in anything in life. To be consistent and disciplined in one thing is very, very difficult.

Johnson, who returns Friday in a title rematch against Adriano Moraes (20-3) in the main event of ONE on Prime Video 1, also acknowledges that times have changed in MMA.

He believes the champions were more active, taking on the No. 1 contender at the time, regardless of promotion. Now the 36-year-old believes the UFC champions are chasing the biggest fight available, even if that means waiting a little longer.

“The thing that’s different from now compared to the past is that now it’s like, ‘We have to build this fight. We have to make as much money as we can,’ Johnson said. I was fighting (in the UFC) I was fighting three times a year Fought Dodson in Chicago, had surgery in March, and turned around and fought John Moraga in July, and turned around and fought Joseph Benavidez in December.

“I was just super active. I didn’t care, you know. Now it’s more of a big show. … It was just different back then. Like Anderson Silva and Jon Jones, they were super active. Now that’s a big buildup.


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