When it comes to who the pound-for-pound best fighter in mixed martial arts is, there are a few names that seem to pop up more than most. Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is one while lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov is another.
However, UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya believes ONE Championship’s Demetrious Johnson is the best fighter in the world today.
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Recently appearing on Ebro in the Morning, Adesanya was discussing how he didn’t view boxing’s unified middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez as the best fighter in the world purely because he was just a boxer.
So when he was asked who he thought was the best pound-for-pound fighter, he made his pick.
“The best fighter in the world right now? Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson,” Adesanya said. “Unfortunately, he’s not in the UFC anymore but I don’t think he has anything to prove in the UFC.”
Johnson was the longtime UFC flyweight champion and has only suffered one defeat — a close split-decision to Henry Cejudo — since 2011.
However, he never really resonated much with American audiences. Whether it was because of his size, lack of trash talking or his general dominance, “Mighty Mouse” just had a hard time selling pay-per-views.
He is now at ONE Championship where he is 3-0 and recently became the Flyweight Grand Prix champion following a unanimous decision win over Danny Kingad last month. The general narrative seems to be that the Asian audience appreciates him much more.
That’s not to say nobody appreciated Johnson in America. His skills were appreciated not only by the hardcore fans, but also by fellow fighters such as Adesanya.
“The guy, the way he operates at that weight class. He’s just so… [snaps fingers],” Adesanya added. “It’s just different. Some of the shit he did, like when he caught the guy with a suplex flying armbar. That was nuts. Who does that?”