UFC Champ Demetrious Johnson Responds to John Moraga’s Criticisms: “It is What it is”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although Demetrious Johnson has gone undefeated since he moved to flyweight, won the UFC championship and defended it this past January, the 26 year-old fighter has still come under fire from critics. Like fellow champions Georges St. Pierre and Benson Henderson, Johnson has been criticized for his recent run of decision wins, which according to the argument, are not what fans want to see.
In fact, one of Johnson’s more vocal critics–in terms of the platform he’s had to voice his criticisms–is the champion’s next opponent John Moraga. The flyweight recently relayed that he thinks Johnson is “boring” and that the dynamic fighter “just bounces around.” Moraga reportedly added that he doesn’t believe the champion tries to “finish people”, in keeping with a similar narrative that has followed GSP and Henderson.
So, does “Mighty Mouse” disagree with Moraga’s comments? Or even care that the challenger made them? Based off what Johnson said during a recent media call, not really.
“I honestly didn’t care,” Johnson (17-2-1) said on a call to promote his July 27th, UFC on FOX 8 tilt with Moraga (13-1). “It’s just his opinion; everybody is entitled to their opinion and it is what it is.”
Although Moraga has not fought as many top ranked fighters as Johnson, the experienced wrestler has finished both of his UFC bouts to date, by tapping out Chris Cariaso and knocking out Ulysses Gomez. In fact, if not for these stoppage victories, Moraga may not have been tapped for a title fight so soon.
“Nope, my last fight I fought, I think he’s one of the guys in the division that has that one strike, knockout power where he can drop guys, and you’ve seen him do it all the time and I’m speaking of John Dodson,” Johnson said, when asked if he’s had to change up his training, as a means to prepare for Moraga’s stopping power.
“John Moraga definitely has some great skills, and he throws great combinations, but as far as me, when it comes to my training and preparing for fighters, or fights, we don’t bring anyone in to emulate my opponent, or we don’t go out and seek information on my opponent,” added Johnson, who has defeated Joseph Benavidez, Ian McCall and Dodson since moving to 125 pounds. “We just train hard, and I believe in my training partners, and my coaching. That’s what we’ve done and hasn’t let me down yet.”
Although it doesn’t sound like Johnson spends much time scouting and breaking down his opponents, he has had plenty of time to do so with Moraga. The two were supposed to fight at the TUF 17 Finale in April; however, Johnson tore his labrum and had to pull out of the bout.
“The recovery has gone great,” said Johnson. “Once I got cleared from the doctor to start training, I started training, so if I were to add up all the days and weeks that this training camp has been, it’s probably been like 12 weeks. I’m feeling great, shoulder is feeling 100%, and I’m just ready to get in there and do work.”
UFC on FOX 8 will be hosted by Seattle’s Key Arena and will be broadcast on FOX.