After defending the UFC flyweight title a record-breaking 11-straight times, Demetrious Johnson absolutely deserved an immediate rematch with Henry Cejudo, who ended his title reign with a split decision victory at UFC 227 in August.
Instead of pursuing this rematch, however, Demetrious Johnson and his team negotiated a move to Singapore’s ONE Championship.
Well, in Johnson’s eyes, there was simply ‘nothing there’ in a rematch with Henry Cejudo. And from the sounds of it, he feels the same way about the UFC flyweight division he ruled for so long.
“I think for me, going back and trying to regain my title, there was nothing there for me, because if I look at it as the standpoint as a martial artist, it was something that I’ve already beaten Henry Cejudo and I truly felt that I’ve been beaten a lot worse,” Demetrious Johnson said on a media conference call Sunday (transcript via MMA Fighting). “When I fought Dominick Cruz [for the bantamweight title in 2011], I felt like I truly was the smaller guy. I mean, he suplexed me three times for God’s sakes. So with that I thought if I went back and fought [Cejudo], who knows how the fight could have went?
“I could have won it the third time, or I could have lost again, and I took a step back and I was like, ‘Okay, what do I truly want? Like ask yourself that, DJ, what do you truly want?’ And I was like, I wanted something different. I wanted to mix it up. I wanted to do something different. I want to be able to walk out to the cage and feel butterflies, or if it’s the ring, I want to face a different type of competition and I knew if I went back and I would have won that belt again, then I knew that I would be staying in the exact same organization, fighting the exact same athletes — which, they are phenomenal athletes — but I’ve beaten pretty much everybody on that roster so far and so I felt this was a perfect opportunity to me. I wasn’t held by being the champion anymore.”
Do you think Demetrious Johnson made the right choice leaving the UFC and heading to ONE Championship?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/31/2018.