Henry Cejudo was undefeated in the 2008 Olympics, winning a gold medal. Then he moved on to MMA, and was undefeated there, too. Until Saturday night when he face UFC flyweight champion DemetriousJohnson, the best pound for pound fighter in MMA, in the main event of UFC 197.
DJ defeated Cejudo in under three minutes, an experience the Olympian described as humbling.
“I really did believe I was going to dominate the clinch,” said Cejudo at the post fight press conference, as transcribed by Luke Thomas for MMAFighting. “Coming from a wrestling background, I felt really strong. It was that first knee that he hit me with. I think he said it during the interview, too – he heard me grunt. I took him down. I could’ve held him down a little longer, but I was still trying to catch my breath. It was that one knee that really did it.
“When you get hit to the body, you don’t even worry about your face no more. So, I just started kinda protecting my body, like hanging my head down. He did a good job. He attacked my body.
“I underestimated his clinch and he hit me to the body on both sides. He did a good job. I underestimated his clinch. The plan was to take him there and then slowly wrestle him. That knee was the difference in that he just beat me up with knees. That was the biggest thing.”
“He dominated me in that certain area. I felt good, like my recovery. I’ve never felt this good. If you guys have ever fought, if you get hit to the body, man, it paralyzes you. It’s a humbling experience for me. I was humbled tonight.”
“The only thing I can do is just go back. Maybe I should take my time a little bit. I’m actually curious to see him fight at 135. I want to see how good he really is. He proved it tonight. I’m humbled. I’d like to see him fight at 135 for the championship. I want to see how good Demetrious Johnson is or how far he could take it.”
Johnson has overcome much to become the best pound for pound fighter in the sport. The 5′ 3″ Mighty Mouse was raised by a deaf mother and an abusive step father. The fighter has never met his biological father.
“I’ve never seen a picture of him,” he said. “Not a glimpse, nothing.”
In a sport too full of ego driven efforts, the ever level-headed Johnson always credits his success to his coach, Matt Hume, and his wife Destiny Johnson.
“She is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” he said. “Without her, life would be incomplete.”
In short, the best fighter in MMA is a role model. The lack of attention he receives compared to other top fighters is absolutely baffling, and says things are wrong with the fans, not with the champion.