UFC bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling sees similarities between Demetrious Johnson’s domination of the flyweight division and Jon Jones’ when it comes to the light heavyweights.
Johnson was the long-reigning UFC flyweight champion who dominated every single challenger that came his way until Henry Cejudo won a highly-contested split decision last year. But during his reign, not many were interested in the flyweights purely because of Johnson’s domination.
Following his loss to Cejudo, he would later be traded to ONE Championship in exchange for Ben Askren, which all but indicated UFC president Dana White’s thoughts on the future of the division.
While the division is still intact, it’s also uncertain. But a number of flyweights have impressed recently such as Deiveson Figueiredo, Jussier Formiga and of course, former title challenger Joseph Benavidez. Sterling has been impressed by them and believes their performances only show that the division was never dead — “Mighty Mouse” was just that good.
“It really makes you wonder about the whole thing with ‘Mighty Mouse’ — when he was the reigning, defending champion at flyweight, all these guys looked very, very normal,” Sterling said in a recent episode of his podcast.
“But when they ran into title contention and got a shot at the champ, a lot of them failed. All of them failed, except Henry Cejudo. He was the only one to not fail even though I still think he lost the fight or at worst, it was a draw.
“It should let you wonder and appreciate how good these guys really are and show you how good ‘Mighty Mouse’ really is for him to be so dominant for so long. As soon as he leaves, everyone starts to appreciate all these other guys. But ‘Mighty Mouse’ was dispatching these guys like it was nothing. So when you think of it like that, the division was never dead. It was just being super dominated by one man in Demetrious Johnson.”
Sterling then brought up the comparison to Jones. The light heavyweight division was once considered the premier division in the UFC back in the day.
However, with “Bones” now reigning over it since returning from his suspension, along with Daniel Cormier moving up to heavyweight, it’s become a bit stale for some MMA fans. But again, Sterling points to the fact that Jones is simply too good in comparison to the other contenders.
“Now you can look at something like that in the Jon Jones aspect,” he added. “Now, Jon Jones is starting to go to a lot more decisions now. So now people are starting to say the light heavyweight division is boring, because it’s not.
“I think flyweight has always been exciting. I think people just weren’t paying attention to it enough because of the champ.”
Sterling would go on to add that Jones being in the headlines for all the wrong reasons also helps his case when it comes to attention as he seemed perplexed as to how the opposite for Johnson seems to work against him.
You can watch the full podcast below: