UFC on FOX 9: Johnson’s Star Continues to Rise With Jaw Dropping Win
By Kelsey Mowatt
Despite the fact Demetrious Johnson had defended the flyweight title twice, and was coming off an impressive tap-out victory over John Moraga, the champ still had his fair share of critics heading into UFC on FOX 9. After Johnson’s brutal KO win over Joseph Benavidez Saturday night, however, one would think the number of his detractors is considerably less.
Of course, the negative narrative that’s been spun in the past is that flyweights can’t finish fights, or at least, they don’t do so often enough. Thanks to stoppage wins by fighters like John Dodson and Benavidez, among many others, however, that argument quickly lost ground. But, since Johnson hadn’t produced a KO win during his WEC and UFC tenure, “Mighty Mouse” continued to take heat for not possessing stopping power.
“It’s one of the things we’ve been working on in the gym, to set my feet and get my power,” Johnson relayed after his impressive win Saturday. “I used to watch how Joseph Benavidez beat people in the WEC and I’m still working on it.”
Benavidez’s night came to a crashing end after Johnson floored him with a right hook as the two exchanged punches. The AMC Pankration fighter landed several more blows before referee “Big” John McCarthy could intervene, but it looked as though the challenger would have been done regardless.
“I was trying to get my timing on him, my footwork on him,” Johnson added. “I threw from right field and it landed and I’m happy to get the finish.”
While it remains to be seen whether Johnson can become one of the promotion’s top draws, he’s certainly appears to be headed in the right direction. The champion has headlined three UFC on FOX cards now, and in his last two, he’s recorded impressive finishes. The idea that you’ll see a ridiculously fast paced and technical bout, but without a highlight KO win when Johnson fights, should be a thing of the past.
“Mostly you see Johnson be the matador and tonight he came out and went on the offensive right away and threw with power,” FOX commentator Brian Stann noted on the post-fight show. “He showed the one new skill he has.”
“The fight came down to movement,” added fellow analyst Chael Sonnen. “Boxing is a lot more than just throwing punches. When Demetrious Johnson starts to move his feet and he lets his hands go, you can’t keep up with him.”
Although Benavidez has lost two times to Johnson now, and is likely a ways out of a third title shot as a result, he should remain as a considerable presence at 125. Considering his tremendous athleticism, wrestling skills and stopping abilities, it’s hard to imagine Benavidez falling out of the title shot picture altogether.
“He’s a great fighter. He’s going to come back,” Johnson noted about the contender. “We’re going to fight again. Usually he comes after people. Tonight he didn’t. It let me set my feet and put the power in my hands.”
UFC on FOX 9 was hosted by Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena.