Saturday night was being called the flyweights big chance.
Leading up to UFC on Fox 6, the newest division in the promotion had struggled to gain fan acceptance on a large scale, but as 125lb champion Demetrious Johnson and challenger John Dodson approached their main event fight, they did so by mounting no extra pressure on themselves to put on a show.
You see, Johnson and Dodson just naturally pull out all the stops in every, single one of their fights, and Saturday was no exception.
A true power puncher even at flyweight, John Dodson came out with no fear facing the incumbent champion, and his counter punching nearly earned him the gold in the early going. Dodson popped Johnson straight down the middle with a punch in round one, that buckled the champion’s knees.
In the second round, Dodson again clipped and caught Johnson with a fast, powerful punch that made him think twice about jumping in again for a quick exchange. Dodson fired another haymaker that clocked Johnson, hurting him significantly, as he staggered to regain his balance.
Miraculously, Johnson came back strong and showed a face of confidence despite the adversities he faced through the first 10 minutes including three knockdowns courtesy of John Dodson.
As the fight wore on, Johnson’s conditioning and pace took over and once Dodson wasn’t able to land the power shot, he had to fall back on technique. Still, Dodson held his own in round three, with good combinations and elusiveness to stave off Johnson’s attacks for the most part.
It was the championship rounds that ended up making all the difference however, and as rounds 4 and 5 started to tick away, Demetrious Johnson showed why he is the best flyweight fighter in the world.
Johnson was relentless with his attacks, never giving Dodson a moment to breathe, and by the fifth round the champion was surging and looking for the kill.
With both hands wrapped firmly around Dodson’s neck, Johnson continuously pulled down while his knee came up in rapid fashion, blasting the contender in the head and face. Dodson held on as best he could, but Johnson knew he had him hurt and was not letting up on his attack.
The final horn sounded before Johnson could get a finish, but he showed clear control as the fight came to a close.
“I spent 14 weeks of a hard training camp, working my Muay Thai clinch, working on everything to become a better mixed martial artist,” Johnson said after his first successful title defense.
Johnson admitted after the fight was over that Dodson definitely had him wobbled in the early going, but he didn’t expect anything less from the Greg Jackson trained fighter.
“I got dazed a little bit, but you know I’m in great shape, it’s going to happen. It’s like going swimming, you’re going to get splashed, you’re going to get hit. I’m alright,” said Johnson.
The showcase fight for the flyweights certainly delivered with Johnson and Dodson putting on the best bout of the card, and showing why everyone should appreciate fighting, whether the competitors are heavyweights or 125lbs.
Demetrious Johnson should also hold his head proud because as a former bantamweight title contender, and his new run at flyweight, the mythical pound-for-pound rankings should take notice of one of the best fighters in the sport, regardless of weight class.