Demetrious Johnson entered a highly exclusive club this past Saturday after submitting Chris Cariaso in the second round of UFC 178’s main event.
How exclusive are we talking? So exclusive that it all but guarantees his induction to the UFC Hall of Fame.
Johnson became only the seventh fighter to defend his title six times, a feat only accomplished by Tito Ortiz, Matt Hughes, Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and Jose Aldo. All of these fighters are either already in the UFC Hall of Fame or are guaranteed admission at the end of their careers. When you look back at Johnson’s career, his resume may one of the most stacked.
For Johnson, he began his career fighting at bantamweight, a full ten pounds higher than where he became champion. Not only did he compete a whole weight class higher, but he found great success. Johnson accumulated a 4-2 record at 135 pounds in both the WEC and UFC. Included in those four wins are Japanese MMA legend Norifumi Yamamoto and former long time WEC Bantamweight champion Miguel Torres. Johnson culminated his career at bantamweight with a title shot against then champion Dominick Cruz. Outside of Anderson Silva, no other fighter can boast the same amount of success in two weight classes.
Furthermore, Johnson’s title reign has been second to none in the level of dominance shown. Since winning the belt, Johnson has only had one “close” bout which was against John Dodson. Even then, it was a clear cut three rounds to two for the defending champion. Outside of the Dodson bout, no challenger has even come close to threatening Johnson. Johnson’s second defense against John Moraga was a one sided schlacking with the champion locking up an armbar in the fifth round. Joseph Benavidez, who was looked at as Johnson’s stiffest competition in the division, faced the champion next but was laid out by an overhand right a little more than two minutes into their bout. A juiced up Ali Bagautinov and Chris Cariaso followed , but neither competitor was able to hold a candle to the champion and were thoroughly dominated.
With Johnson’s success in two divisions and flawless title run thus far, you are hard pressed to find another fighter who is more deserving to enter the UFC Hall of Fame. Johnson still has a long way to go until he calls it a career, but don’t be surprised if he’s looked at as one of the greatest by the end of his run.