Aljamain Sterling: Demetrious Johnson Made Everyone Look Ordinary
This past weekend, Demetrious Johnson earned a hard fought win over Tatsumitsu Wada at ONE: Dawn Of Heroes. The win sent the former UFC flyweight champion into the final of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix, where he will meet Team Lakay’s Danny Kingad at ONE: Century, on October 13th in Tokyo, Japan.
Despite winning fourteen of his last fifteen bouts, eleven of which were title defences in the UFC, and being regarded as the GOAT by many, the 32 year old rarely receives the respect he deserves.
One man who appreciates Johnson though, is UFC bantamweight top contender Aljamain Sterling. Speaking on his podcast (as transcribed by The Body Lock), Sterling stated that ‘DJ’ never received the credit he deserved whilst in the UFC, saying that he dominated the UFC flyweight division for so long, he made all his opponents look ‘very, very normal’.
“It really makes you wonder about the whole thing with ‘Mighty Mouse’ — when he was the reigning, defending champion at flyweight, all these guys looked very, very normal.
“But when they ran into title contention and got a shot at the champ, a lot of them failed. All of them failed, except Henry Cejudo. He was the only one to not fail even though I still think he lost the fight or at worst, it was a draw.
“It should let you wonder and appreciate how good these guys really are and show you how good ‘Mighty Mouse’ really is for him to be so dominant for so long. As soon as he leaves, everyone starts to appreciate all these other guys. But ‘Mighty Mouse’ was dispatching these guys like it was nothing. So when you think of it like that, the division was never dead. It was just being super dominated by one man in Demetrious Johnson.”
Sterling compared Johnson’s run in the UFC, to the run light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is currently on. Jones, like Johnson, is also regarded as the greatest mixed martial artist ever, by many fans.
“Now you can look at something like that in the Jon Jones aspect. Now, Jon Jones is starting to go to a lot more decisions now. So now people are starting to say the light heavyweight division is boring, because it’s not.
“I think flyweight has always been exciting. I think people just weren’t paying attention to it enough because of the champ.”
Johnson was part of a historic trade between ONE Championship and the UFC last year, which saw Ben Askren go the other way. Johnson has gone 2-0 in ONE since the trade with Askren. If he can make it 3-0 in Tokyo in October, not only will he win the ONE Flyweight GP, he will be rewarded with a title bout against the current ONE flyweight champion, Adriano Moraes.
Watch highlights of Demetrious Johnson’s ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semifinal here, along with his post fight press conference: