Last month, in the main event of the UFC’s visit to Kansas City, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson – widely known as “Mighty Mouse” – defended his title with a submission defeat of BJJ blackbelt Wilson Reis. This marked the champ’s tenth straight defense of the UFC strawweight title, and tied Anderson Silva’s all-time record for consecutive title defenses.
Given that Anderson Silva is no longer a UFC champion, and Johnson is looking more dominant than ever, he now has the opportunity to set a new record for consecutive title defenses with an eleventh straight defense. Johnson has made no secret of the fact that this is his plan – but he doesn’t plan on stopping at eleven.
In a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Johnson explained that he’d like to retire with 15, 18, or even 20 straight title defenses – numbers he believes could be unbeatable.
“I hope I can get to 20,” he said. “I’m on pace to get two or three fights per year, and I think I’ve got five or six years left in me. Maybe I’ll get to something like 18 and walk away from the sport-retire as champion. I think 15 to 18 title defenses is something that would be in the record books forever.”
Johnson then weighed in on whether or not he gets the respect he deserves from the fans. His focus he says, is not on fan reception, but on shattering records.
“It goes back and forth, man,” he said. “MMA has the rudest, most negative, dumbest, ignorant fans in the world-but it also has the most passionate fans in the world. I hear that I should move up in weight all the time. I was at the gym the other day, and some guy was like, “Man, you need to fight [UFC lightweight champion] Conor McGregor!” I’ve been getting that for years, and I’m over it. I want to focus on my division and just smash that record. Just destroy it.”
How many title defenses do you think Demetrious Johnson can rack up?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/16/2017.