Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson equaled Georges St. Pierre for title defences with nine on Sunday – and he did it in typical GSP style, too.
The UFC flyweight champion had to be at his best to beat challenger Tim Elliot but he once again added credence to his title as the No.1 pound-for-pound MMA fighter on the planet.
In the first round, Elliot who won ‘The Ultimate Fighter 24’ series earlier this year to earn a crack at the title, locked up a guillotine choke. It looked deep but when he converted to a D’arce choke Johnson, like a true champion, stayed cool and composed to get out of the round.
In a year of upsets, none would have been more shocking than a Johnson defeat, especially via a submission.
But akin to GSP, he adapted and smothered Elliot with a dominating top game to take the next four frames. It was a stellar performance from Johnson, one which puts him a victor away from middleweight great Anderson Silva’s record feat of 10 defences.
“Tim’s tough. He fights. He likes to push,” Johnson said.
“I think sometimes as a champion you need to have those fights so you can show that you can make adjustments and show dominance.
“I’m very satisfied with my performance tonight. You guys heard the scorecards, and it sounds like four out of five is pretty damn good.
“When you look at the first round it was tough. But after that I made my adjustments and was able to take him down and outgrapple him.
“He was a bigger guy; I was able to take him down.
“I had him almost in a choke, an armbar, an arm lock. I felt like in the first round he did a good job. You take away that guillotine, but other than that it was just bumps and bruises on my forehead.”
Elliot, indeed, was the far bigger man but gaining that advantage came at a price.
“I’d like to go up to (bamtamweight),” Elliott said post-fight.
“The weight cut killed me. The morning of the weight cut I was hurting pretty bad. The first time I’ve ever told my coaches I was done. I told (head coach) James Krause I wasn’t going back in the sauna. I told him I would give up the 20 percent; I didn’t care about the belt. He made me get back in there.
“He made me cut the weight, and I appreciate that he did that. But I do this sport because it’s fun. It doesn’t pay that well, so I feel like I could really compete at 135lbs, when I feel good and I feel strong.”
With another challenger out of the picture, and the division, it’s hard to see who beats Johnson, now.
UFC flyweight Demetrious Johnson successfully defended his title for a ninth time against Tim Elliott in Las Vegas on Snday morning.
Johnson took control of the fight after a nervy first round that saw his opponent, “The Ultimate Fighter 24” winner Elliott, nearly score a famous early win.
Elliott flew out the traps and looked to make the most of his wrestling ability to put Johnson on the back foot and it looked as if he was going to pull off a huge upset until Johnson fought back.
“Tim Elliott’s a hell of a fighter,” said Johnson after the fight. “It’s like wrestling a damn muskrat. I just had to neutralize him, man.”
“I wasn’t going out. I was like 'hey Herb [Dean, the referee], don’t you stop this damn fight. Here’s my thumb’s up.' He goes, ‘I got you, dog.’ It was a tough first round.”
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