Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson was victorious last weekend against Wilson Reis. In the flyweight division, Johnson is the inaugural and only ever champion in the division’s history. There seems to be no competition for him. The next fighters ranked highly are Joseph Benavidez who Johnson has beaten on 2 separate occasions, the first of which was for the inaugural belt and Henry Cujedo who he knocked out in the first round at UFC 197. Both Benavidez and Cujedo have fights coming up, so it may be time for Johnson to come back up to the bantamweight division, and if he does, here are 5 potential opponents.
1. Cody Garbrandt: Even though Garbrandt is the undefeated current champion and has a bout coming up against former champion T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 213, Johnson could get a shot easily given his record and reputation. When Conor McGregor was going to challenge Dos Anjos, he didn’t have to fight Khabib or Fergusson or anyone to earn the shot. Both Johnson and Garbrandt are explosive fighters, Garbrandt is a knockout machine while Johnson is more of an all rounder. Johnson is #1 pound for pound while Garbrandt is #5. Definitely a fight UFC fans wouldn’t scoff at.
2. Dominick Cruz: if Johnson does come up to this division, this is the one we all want to see. Johnson has lost to 2 men in his career, both when he was a bantamweight; Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett and Dominick Cruz. Cruz beat Johnson in a hellacious battle where he broke his hand in the first round. It was Johnson’s last bantamweight bout before he dropped down to flyweight. Johnson is a different fighter since that loss and has been on one of the most impressive streaks in the sport. This could have the potential of being one of the fights of the year possibly should be considered for an International fight week show.
3. T.J. Dillashaw: The man who upset the MMA world when he stopped Renan Barao and ending his impressive streak he was on for 9 years. Dillashaw had an impressive run as bantamweight champion, beating Barao in a rematch but then lost to Dominick Cruz. Both Dillashaw and Johnson are all rounders with the experience factor being with Johnson, however for now Dillashaw has a date with Garbrandt to focus on.
4. Jimmie Rivera: The man who should rightfully face the winner of Garbrandt and Dillashaw, but while he’s waiting, he needs an opponent. Johnson would be the ideal opponent for Rivera. Rivera has an unbelievable record, he hasn’t been beaten in 8 and a half years, he is a former CCFC and ROC Bantamweight champion and a KOTC Flyweight champion. He has good cardio and is known for going to the distance. A great defensive fighter whereas Johnson is known for looking for a finish.
5. Raphael Assuncao: It is probably the best chance to make Johnson vs Assuncao after he fights Marlon Moraes at UFC 212. Assuncao will be 35 in July and he’ll probably consider going back up to the featherweight division as he gets older. He holds victories over T.J. Dillashaw (Dillashaw got the victory back), Bryan Caraway, Mike Easton and has racked up a record of 24 – 5 – 0. A very seasoned fighter; both men have fought all over the world and came into UFC at the same time with the WEC merger. Don’t expect this to make lots of money, but Assuncao would be an ideal opponent for Johnson, if he was waiting for a title shot.