Former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who shattered the record for most consecutive title defenses by a UFC champion with 11-straight victories, is headed to Singapore-based Asian MMA powerhouse ONE Championship. The widespread feeling is that the former champ will fit in well in his new home and be well-received by fight fans in Asia.
This is good news, considering the fact that Johnson never quite caught on with UFC fans. Although he was one of the sport’s most dominant champions, and the dynamo behind some of the most incredible performances in recent memory, he was never quite what you’d call a needle-mover for the promotion.
Speaking to TMZ Sports on Monday, UFC President Dana White discussed Demetrious Johnson’s complicated legacy with the UFC and its fans. In his eyes, the former champ never really got the respect he deserved.
“If you look at it, the kid broke the record for most title defenses. I feel like he never really got the love and respect he deserved from the fans,” Dana White said (transcript via Sherdog). “I don’t know if he was always thrilled being here, so hopefully he’s a lot happier where he’s headed now. His longtime trainer and coach [Matt Hume] is an executive over there, so maybe he’ll be happier over there.”
Demetrious Johnson (27-3-1) last fought in August, when his longstanding reign as UFC flyweight champion and the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter came to a close with a split decision loss to Henry Cejudo.
The former UFC champion holds victories over names like Joseph Benavidez (twice), Kyoji Horiguchi, Ian McCall, John Dodson (twice), Ray Borg, John Moraga, Wilson Reis, and the aforementioned Cejudo.
It is not known at this time what Johnson’s potential departure could mean for the long-struggling UFC flyweight division. That being said, it’s possible his departure could be the harbinger for the division’s demise.
What do you think of Dana White’s parting comments on Demetrious Johnson.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/29/2018.