John Moraga's charge that Demetrious Johnson is 'boring' doesn't faze the flyweight champion (Yahoo! Sports)


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

To paraphrase Georges St-Pierre’s most famous quotation, John Moraga is not impressed with UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson's performance.

The 13-1 Moraga, who challenges Johnson in the main event of UFC on FOX 8 on July 27 in Seattle, didn’t mince words when asked what he thought of the inaugural titleholder in the UFC’s 125-pound weight class.

“I think he’s boring,” Moraga said in a recent interview.

But he was only getting started. Asked to clarify why he considers “Mighty Mouse” dull, Moraga unloaded.

“I think he just bounces around, he runs around so much and he don’t fight,” Moraga said. “You know, he doesn’t put on exciting fights. He has a lot of technique and a lot of skill, but he doesn’t go in there and try to finish people, I don’t feel.”

The champion, meanwhile, is dismissive of his challenger. Asked by Yahoo! Sports in a one-one-one interview to respond to his challenger’s comments, Johnson said, “He doesn't pay my light bills, he doesn't pay my mortgage. His opinion doesn't matter.”

The UFC flyweight division has slowly and steadily built its presence since it was founded at the start of last year. The first champion, Johnson, was crowned in a four-man tournament in 2012.

The weight class has featured action-packed bouts from a host of fighters. It even had its first classic bout, Johnson’s unanimous decision win over John Dodson at UFC on FOX 6 on Jan. 26, which defied critics who said flyweights can’t headline big events by pulling in an impressive network television rating. 

Johnson has emerged as the undisputed leader of the pack. He’s fought nine times in less than three years, compiling a 7-1-1 record, with the only loss coming against bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. Since dropping down to flyweight and taking on guys his size, Johnson has been a riddle no one has been able to solve, using his speed, footwork, counter-striking and takedown ability to establish himself at the head of the class.

What the division has lacked, though, is the sort of rivalry that could put it out front and make it stand out in a crowded field. That’s where the brash Moraga steps in.

Moraga, who trains at The MMA Lab in Glendale, Ariz., with lightweight champion Benson Henderson, has finished both of his UFC foes. First he picked apart Ulysses Gomez in a frightening Muay Thai display last August, then he snagged the UFC 155 Submission of the Night bonus for his front-choke stoppage of Chris Cariaso.

Moraga sees himself as a finisher. Johnson has yet to win a flyweight fight via stoppage.

“My main thing is, I don’t like going out there and putting on boring fights,” Moraga said. “For this fight, who knows how it’s going to play out once we get in there. We’ll adapt to whatever goes on in there. I know I’m going to be a little bit patient, I know he moves around a lot and doesn’t really get the fight going right away, as far as big heavy exchanges or anything.”

The bout was originally scheduled for April 13 in Las Vegas, but Johnson pulled out of the date to undergo surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff. It was a tough adjustment, considering how active Johnson likes to stay. But in the long run, Johnson feels it was a good thing.

“I was pretty bummed out at first,” Johnson said. “But, in hindsight this was the best thing that could have happened. For one thing my wife is pregnant, so I got to spend quality time together when I would have been in the middle of camp. For another, all those little bumps and bruises you get, normally you just deal with them, but this gave me time to heal everything up, so I’m feeling good. And in the long run, the big thing is, by taking care of this now before it got out of hand, it ensures I’ll still be able to do my thing down the road. Plus, I get to fight at home at KeyArena, which is sort of the icing on the cake.”

When he realized the weight of his criticisms, Moraga, who helped bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz train for his 2011 victory over Johnson, tried to walk his comments back somewhat, saying there’s a difference between the hardcore fans who appreciate Johnson’s style and the casual fans who might not glean such subtleties.

“I mean, he’s great,” Moraga said of the champion. “Maybe to the educated MMA fan he’s probably not boring, I probably didn’t word that right. But to the people when you’re trying to gain fans for the flyweight division, I think he’s boring to them because it’s always the same thing with him.”

But the cat was already out of the bag. The champion already heard the words. And his reaction demonstrated that he understands he’s the king of the hill until someone else proves otherwise.

“Ask John Dodson if I’m boring,” said Johnson. “Ask anyone who’s fought me if I’m boring. If John Moraga thinks he’s going to get into my head, well, guess what: I’m not going to change a thing for him. I’m not going to go out there and try to prove something or try to fight his fight. It’s not like I’m going to go in there and try to finish the guy who calls himself a finisher just because. He’s going to get same Demetrious Johnson who steps into the cage every time. There’s nothing special coming for him.”

Follow Dave Doyle on Twitter @davedoylemma.

More popular MMA stories on Yahoo! Sports:
Roy Nelson's feud with UFC president Dana White is escalating, but not preventing a title shot
UFC fitness guru Mike Dolce radically changed his life to help others change theirs
Fighters show commercial appeal
Chuck Liddell: Anderson Silva no match for me during my prime
view original article >>

Related News

  • 13 days ago
  • 19 views

From Yahoo Sports: The flyweight champion, who successfully defended his belt at UFC 174 in Vancouver, British Columbia, will be looking for his seventh win in a row. more

  • 18 days ago
  • 27 views

Demetrious Johnson's most intriguing potential flyweight foe is on the shelf until sometime next year. John Dodson underwent anterior cruciate ligament surgery on Wednesday, FOXSports.com reported. While surgery was a success for the Jackson's MMA fighter, he's going to be out at least 6-8 months before he can go all out in the gym again and could be out of action as long as a year. Dodson (16-6) has won seven of his past eight fights and is 5-1 in the UFC. His only loss during that span was to more

  • 13 days ago
  • 30 views

UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson talks about what's next for him. more

  • 13 days ago
  • 21 views

UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is set for a quick turnaround. While he successfully defended his belt just a few weeks ago at UFC 174, Johnson is now tabbed to defend his belt at UFC 177 opposite Chris Cariaso, according to Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole. Cariaso is currently riding a three-fight winning streak, with victories over Iliarde Santos, Danny Martinez and Louis Smolka. He owns a 4-2 record in the UFC as a flyweight, and was an above-average bantamweight before that. The news tha more

  • 26 days ago
  • 27 views

Ian McCall is finally set to fight Brad Pickett in Dublin on July 19, nearly four months after the two were originally scheduled to meet at UFC Fight Night “Gustafsson vs. Manuwa.” more

  • 18 days ago
  • 81 views

It hasn't been a good day for the UFC flyweight division. Shortly after it was reported that top Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) flyweight contender John Dodson would be sidelined for up to a year following ACL surgery, the 125-pound division was dealt another crushing blow. Damon Martin of FOX Sports is reporting that Ali Bagautinov tested positive for Recombinant Human Erythropoietin (EPO) -- a hormone that controls red blood cell production -- after his title fight against 125-pound cham more

  • 17 days ago
  • 22 views

Because all "Mighty Mouse" does is win without cheating. "I'm disappointed to hear that Bagautinov tested positive for EPO. That's very unfortunate news. But the moral of this story is that I proved on June 14 that you don't need to cheat, you don't need PEDs to be a champion. I am proud to be a clean champion and I believe that talent will beat drugs every time out, just like it did last month in Vancouver." -- A very disappointed Demetrious Johnson tells MMA Fighting that it's unfortunate that more

  • 14 days ago
  • 38 views

The MMA Hour is back in your life on Monday. Below is a rundown of who will be stopping by and when: 1:00 p.m. ET -- Manager Lex McMahon will discuss a change in his career and other news. 1:25 p.m. -- UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson will talk about what's next for him. 1:45 p.m. -- Irish flyweight Neil Seery will preview his UFC Fight Night Dublin bout against Phil Harris. 2:05 p.m. -- TUF 19 cast member Cathal Pendred will talk about his experience on the show and his UFC Fight Night more

  • 14 days ago
  • 45 views

"Mighty Mouse" dishes on "Puncher King's" latest drug test flop and reveals exactly why he can't see eye-to-eye with his fellow flyweight John Dodson. Last week was an interesting one to say the least for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) flyweight division, as it was revealed that two of the top four fighters in the weight class would be out of action for a year. Although for entirely different reasons. No. 1 ranked John Dodson revealed he would be sidelined until late 2015 due to a rece more