Former UFC flyweight champion and current ONE Championship star Demetrious Johnson has named what separates him from the other all-time greats of the sport.
In terms of the GOAT debate, a polarizing topic that has long split the mixed martial arts community, not many are as widely branded underrated as Johnson. Despite his credentials, “Mighty Mouse” often finds himself behind the likes of Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, and Jon Jones on people’s lists.
Many, however, have looked to maintain Johnson’s place in the discourse, which they suggest is warranted owing to his immense achievements. During his tenure in the UFC between 2011 and 2018, that included a record-breaking title reign that saw Johnson notch the most consecutive title defenses and retentions, period, in the promotion’s history.
And even since departing the Octagon, Johnson hasn’t stopped finding success. In ONE Championship, “Mighty Mouse” currently rules as the flyweight champion, a title he earned with a memorable knockout of Adriano Moraes last August at ONE on Prime Video 1.
In addition to his 2022 crowning, Johnson also boasts a World Grand Prix championship and a victory over legendary Muay Thai fighter Rodtang Jitmuangnon in a historical mixed-rules superfight under the ONE banner.
At 36, Johnson remains an ever-evolving fighter at the top of his game — something he sees as a point in his favor when it comes to the GOAT debate.
Johnson Speaks On Advantage Over Other GOAT Contenders
Johnson was in Bangkok, Thailand, this past weekend for ONE Fight Night 6. After the event, during which he featured on commentary, the flyweight king interacted with press through a virtual media scrum.
Discussing his place in the GOAT debate, Johnson pointed to his continuing evolution as a mixed martial artist and proven ability to overcome adversity as areas that separate him from other contenders.
“I feel like my whole entire career, I’ve always been growing and just understanding my style, and (what) is the best way for me to implement it depending on the opponent I’m fighting,” Johnson said. “Obviously, now people are seeing it more because I battled adversity when I fought Adriano Moraes the first time, and then taking that fight against Rodtang, an absolutely amazing fighter, (and) doing one round Muay Thai, second round MMA; coming out victorious in that one, and then going and fighting Adriano Moraes (again).
“A lot of athletes, when they suffer a huge defeat and get knocked out, they get kind of gun-shy. For me, I think just my overall growth as a mixed martial artist, and just getting better, probably separates me different from the other people on the list of the greatest of all time,” Johnson added.
“Mighty Mouse” will have the chance to further stake his GOAT claim when he returns to action at ONE on Prime Video 10 on May 5. At the event, which will mark ONE Championship’s debut on United States soil, Johnson will headline in a trilogy fight against Moraes.
Regardless of the result, it’s safe to say that Johnson’s exploits in both the UFC and ONE Championship have ensured he’ll be remembered as one of the greatest that the sport has ever seen.
Where do you rank Demetrious Johnson in the GOAT debate?
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