As Demetrious Johnson said after UFC on FOX 24 on Saturday in Kansas City, “It was a damn good night.”
Well, it was for him anyway.
Johnson’s fight with No. 3 ranked flyweight Wilson Reis represented his opportunity to match a record held by one of the great fighters of all time, Anderson Silva. Motivated to be recognized as the greatest fighter ever, Johnson put on a master class against Reis.
Johnson showed his superior speed and timing early, a ball of motion, leaving Reis without a target. Constantly shifting stances, Johnson picked Reis apart in the opening frame, landing a stinging jab and then dancing away. He would then drill a blistering kick to the body and again disappear.
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Even when Reis caught a kick and forced Johnson to the canvas, the champion was immediately back on his feet, landing a knee and a kick to the body almost instantaneously.
The second round was more of the same, but amplified. Johnson was quickly in and out, hitting and kicking Reis before he could see it coming.
In the final 20 seconds of the round, Johnson drove a knee to Reis’ belly that dropped him to the canvas. Johnson followed him down, raining a brutal onslaught of hammerfists and elbows until the horn.
Johnson kept his frantic pace in round three, again giving Reis nothing to hit, all the while darting in with crushing kicks to the body.
Late in the frame, Johnson timed a perfect takedown and planted the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt on the canvas. Johnson quickly moved to side control, keeping Reis on his back. Try as he might, the Brazilian couldn’t find a way out from under Johnson. He gained half guard for a time, but Johnson was constantly in his face, landing punches and elbows.
Johnson eventually worked into full mount, but he was there only briefly. He dropped some punches, snatched Reis’ left arm, and slid off the side to finish the fight with an armbar.
The victory was Johnson’s twelfth consecutive and his tenth UFC flyweight title defense. That positions him in a tie with Anderson Silva’s record for most consecutive UFC title defenses.
Let’s face it, Johnson already had to be considered amongst the greatest ever. There’s no denying he shares the upper crust with Silva, Georges St-Pierre, and Jon Jones. But the dominance and pure fluidity he has displayed recently may have pushed him above any of them.
“GSP, Anderson, they’re great champions, but I’m the best champion that ever stepped in this Octagon,” said Johnson.
Though there has been talk of having him move up to bantamweight to challenge the winner of the upcoming title fight between champion Cody Garbrandt and former titleholder TJ Dillashaw, Johnson is likely to remain at flyweight in order to break Silva’s record.
He did, however, mention what might motivate him to take on the bantamweight champ.
“I already told Dana White I need seven figures. I need a million-dollar payday.”
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