Imagine if you will a champ so dominant that no one – no one – has come close to beating him in years. Imagine a champ so skilled that whenever he’s brought up in conversation, the words “pound-for-pound best fighter in the world” are spoken. Now imagine that champ to have zero resonance with fans. Like, zero. None. Nada.
That’s Demetrious Johnson, who’s owned the flyweight division for so long they’re just recycling dudes to challenge him for the belt. At this weekend’s UFC 227, it’ll be Olympic wrestler Henry Cejudo, who “Mighty Mouse” already beat pretty definitively (and out-wrestled).
Johnson won the belt back in 2012, and has defended it 11 times. And yet, whenever he headlines a UFC event, it tanks. No one wants to watch him! There are fighters who are pay-per-view draws, and whose very existence generates news, and then there’s Johnson, a black hole of dominant cagefighting and negative popularity.
It’s really no one’s fault. The UFC has done their best to push him, going so far as to devote an entire season of TUF to create an opponent for him (Tim Elliott, who Johnson beat). And you can’t really blame Johnson, as some fighters have charisma and some don’t.
All you can do is politely tune in when he fights, and hope that when he ages out of competition and retires, someone more interesting takes over.
Here’s a Countdown vid devoted to him and Cejudo.