Demetrious Johnson might not get enough credit from the UFC as one of the promotion’s greatest fighters of all time, but he certainly does from Joe Rogan.
Johnson (31-4-1), a former longtime UFC flyweight champion, showed why he’s worthy of such praise at ONE on Prime Video 1 last month when he knocked out Adriano Moraes with a walk-off flying knee in their rematch to claim the ONE Championship 135-pound title in Singapore.
It was a Knockout of the Year contender that had the MMA community buzzing and, for Rogan, served as a reminder of Johnson’s place in history.
“He is one of the greatest of all time,” Rogan said on a recent episode of his “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast. “That guy is so f*cking talented. So talented. And the way he set that knee up, the way he hits him with the right hand and is like a boss – not yet, not yet, BOOM. Lands it perfectly. … He just knew just by the impact, ‘No way he’s getting out of that one.’”
Johnson, 36, holds the UFC record for most consecutive title defenses at 11, surpassing former middleweight champ Anderson Silva’s mark with a memorable armbar submission of Ray Borg in October 2017. Johnson held the inaugural UFC 125-pound title from September 2012 when he beat Joseph Benavidez until he lost it to Henry Cejudo in August 2018.
Two months later, the UFC traded Johnson to ONE Championship for Ben Askren in an unprecedented move between major MMA organizations.
Johnson left the UFC at a time when UFC president Dana White openly talked about shutting down the flyweight division, a consideration that was tied to Johnson’s dominance, which wasn’t appreciated so much as it was viewed as a detriment in making the division “boring” and led to tension between Johnson and White. So the UFC decided to get rid of Johnson (but ultimately kept the division after his departure). At the time of the Askren trade, Johnson said he left the UFC “on good terms,” although it didn’t seem that way.
Rogan, who was speaking with guest Kamaru Usman on his podcast, questions why the UFC doesn’t acknowledge Johnson’s greatness.
“They don’t talk about him. They don’t bring him up,” Rogan said. “It’s just really weird, like the UFC doesn’t promote him anymore now that he’s gone and goes to another organization. When they play The Who (inside arenas), they have that music, and they have the compilation, how the f*ck do you not have ‘Mighty Mouse’ in that?”
Given his credentials, Johnson figures to be a lock for the UFC Hall of Fame. But the way Rogan sees it, he already should have been inducted. If the politics of fighting for another organization keeps Johnson out, that won’t sit well with Rogan.
“I don’t get any of that,” Rogan said. “In my world, that doesn’t make any sense. Gotta recognize that. Guy is one of the greatest champions ever.”