Demetrious Johnson happy for Henry Cejudo, ‘it was never my division’

Demetrious-Johnson-Henry-Cejudo

At UFC Brooklyn this past Saturday night, Henry Cejudo potentially saved the UFC flyweight division by starching UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw in just 32-seconds.

To win the belt, Cejudo dethroned the greatest champion in UFC history, Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson.

It was a closely contested rematch at UFC 227, but Cejudo would take home the split decision win to become only the second flyweight champion in UFC history.

The division’s future was already in question prior to Cejudo’s title reign beginning, but the win over Johnson really brought things to light.

Having departed for ONE Championship since then, Demetrious Johnson makes the claim that despite his incredible dominance, the division was never ‘his’.

“It was never my division, it’s the UFC’s division,” Johnson told ESPN. “I’ve moved on to bigger and better things, in my opinion. I am legitimately happy for Henry Cejudo, TJ Dillashaw and the flyweight division.

“Once I became part of ONE Championship, that’s where my focus went. But I’m happy for the opportunity those guys got. They deserve it.”

One of the big things that has Johnson excited about working in the Asian market is that MMA is much more about the ‘art’ aspect rather than the drama, which has seemingly taken over in North America over the years.

Something that the flyweight division has lacked in the eyes of most since its creation in 2012.

“It’s not about trying to create drama over here,” Johnson said. “I always felt like in the UFC, your star power is based on how many pay-per-views you sell. When Dana White comes to you and says, ‘We’re thinking about getting rid of your division,’ and you’re on your ninth title defense, it kind of makes you wonder. But you never have to worry about that here. It’s a different vibe.

“When you’re not worried about selling a f*cking pay-per-views and just competing… And everyone is happy with it… That’s what it’s all about.”

In the end, Demetrious Johnson is still one of the very best in the world and for the remainder of his career he’ll be putting his skills on display for the fans overseas.

Although he never got the instant rematch for a trilogy bout with Cejudo, Johnson says he wouldn’t be opposed to it.

“At the end of the day, you never know what could happen,” Johnson said. “I’ll tell you what, though, I’ll never go back to North America. So the only way we’d compete against each other is if he came over here. It all depends on what happens in the UFC. A lot of things would have to fall in order, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.”

On March 31, ONE Championship makes their promotional debut in Japan which is where Johnson will make his promotional debut opposite Yuya Wakamatsu.

Whoever wins the bout will take one step closer to the title as they advance through the ONE flyweight Grand Prix tournament.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/23/2019