Flyweight legend Demetrious Johnson has named the defending UFC champion who he believes has the best chance of breaking his defense record.
Now throwing himself inside the ONE Championship Circle on the other side of the world, Johnson has made a name for himself as the dominant titleholder in the Octagon, where he has secured his legacy as as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time.
While there may not be as many people including him in the overall GOAT debate as Anderson Silva, Jon Jones or Georges St-Pierre, “Mighty Mouse” has something they don’t. haven’t – the record for most consecutive title defenses in UFC history.
Between 2012 and 2017, Johnson sat on the 125-pound throne on MMA’s biggest stage, rejecting 11 challenges to his reign from Joseph Benavidez – whom he also defeated to begin his reign as first division champion – John Dodson, Henry Cejudo, and Kyoji Horiguchi.
Breaking the record in style, Johnson submitted Ray Borg with one of the most memorable submissions in promotional history, forcing ‘The Tazmexican Devil’ to tap after fitting a suplex into an armbar at UFC 216.
While the record stands strong to date, Johnson has thought of a number of individuals as to who can top his feat, the first of which recently failed.
During an interview with MMA Junkie’s Danny Segura, the former champion noted that he expected Kamaru Usman to be the one to tackle the record. But ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ ended its reign last weekend at UFC 278, with Leon Edwards claiming the crown with a headbutt.
“Look what happened to Kamaru Usman. I really thought he was going to be the gentleman to break my longest consecutive title defense record,” Johnson said, “I had him on that list, that he was going to to beat him.
Although Usman is now out of contention, he remains another title holder in a record claim that ‘Mighty Mouse’ is backing to hit 12.
Johnson touts Shevchenko as future record holder
Johnson named reigning women’s flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko as the current champion who is likely to break the record down the line. The ONE star cited the level of competition “Bullet” faces as the reason he expects her to achieve directing.
“I think Valentina Shevchenko is going to smash it, just because she’s one step ahead of her competition,” Johnson said. “I also think the female mixed martial arts pool isn’t that deep. It’s not that deep. She’s just light years above people.
Last time out, Shevchenko passed halfway with his successful seventh retention. Having already fielded Katlyn Chookagian, Jéssica Andrade and Jennifer Maia, the Kyrgyz added Taila Santos’ name to her incredibly impressive resume at UFC 275 last June.
But perhaps for the first time in her reign, Shevchenko faced adversity, with her Brazilian rival delivering a competitive performance in Singapore who even suggested she should have raised her hand, which would have ended any hopes that “Bullet” has to break Johnson’s record.
While Santos is arguably doing enough to deserve a rematch, Shevchenko may have to pass the toughest test of her career once again if she is to maintain her grip on the flyweight belt.
Do you agree with Demetrious Johnson? Does Valentina Shevchenko have the best chance of breaking her defense record?