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UFC 186 Aftermath: Don't like watching Demetrious Johnson? Your loss

Esther Lin

On any given day, more people will eat at McDonald's than dine in five-star restaurants.

That doesn't make McDondald's food better.

A hot indie rock band isn't going to sell as much product as Taylor Swift. But Twitter doesn't light up with people faulting the indie rockers for not jumping through hoops on command to draw more attention to themselves. And lord knows real music fans aren't siding with vapid pop stars over acts with real talent.

But I had an epiphany sometime during UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson's superb victory over Kyoji Horiguchi on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 186: I don't care what the champ's detractors think anymore.

I don't care if Mighty Mouse's haters are going to spew tired snark throughout his fights. I don't care that Mighty Mouse himself doesn't care about pushing his fights. I don't care that the UFC hasn't figured out a way to make him a 125-pound Brock Lesnar at the box office.

Every time Demetrious Johnson steps into the Octagon, we're being treated to one of the finest blends of all around mixed martial arts skills we'll ever see from any fighter. DJ mixes lightning-like speed, accurate and strategic striking, relentless wrestling, a nonpareil submission game, and a high fight IQ, demonstrated by his ability to make in-fight adjustments.

And you just might see history every time he steps into the cage. Johnson's submission last night in Montreal came at 4:59 of the fifth round. That broke his own record of 3:43 of the fifth, against John Moraga, for latest stoppage in UFC history. We're going to have to measure the stopwatches down to the tenth or hundredth of a second in order to potentially beat UFC 186's finish going forward.

That's six successful title defenses for Johnson. Four finishes in his past five defenses. Eight wins in a row. 14-1-1 over the past four-and-a-half years, with the only loss being the time he went the distance with champion Dominick Cruz as an undersized bantamweight.

As far as I'm concerned, Johnson has surpassed play-it-safe decisionator Jose Aldo for No. 2 on the pound-for-pound list. Only Jon Jones boasts a better all-around skill set and resume at this point.

Oh, and Johnson does indeed have a personality in their somewhere. Check out his recent digs against potential future challenger Henry Cejudo.

We've basically got a finished product in Demetrious Johnson at this point. The UFC seems content to use him on double bills and as a substitute title fight when another one drops out. Johnson himself only seems concerned with becoming the best fighter he can be, without worrying about the peripherals. And there seems to be nothing he can do to satisfy his critics.

We're watching the prime of one of the finest fighters we'll ever see in the Octagon, and from now on in, that's good enough for me.

UFC 186 quotes

"Anderson Silva wasn't the biggest star ever when he was champion," White said. "Chuck Liddell wasn't a big star for a while. His day will come." -- UFC president Dana White, on Demetrious Johnson's lack of popularity.

"I don't give a s--- what people are doing, I'm watching the fight." -- More White on DJ.

"I just think that Fabio is not human. I hit that guy with everything, and he was asking for some more. I was like, damn. I even tried to kick him in the head." -- Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, on his inability to finish Fabio Maldonado.

"I want to come back and beat everybody that beat me. I want to fight (Mauricio) ‘Shogun' (Rua), Rashad (Evans), Glover (Teixeira), and make my way back up to Jon (Jones). That's the honest truth." -- Rampage, on where he goes from here.

"We were just having a little back and forth regarding our finger positioning. I know he's poked a couple of people in the eye a couple of times, so I was like, ‘Hey ref, he's got his fingers open here.' Then in the second or third round, I had mine open, and he was like, ‘Hey Bisping, you've got your fingers open.' It was kind of a stupid conversation that we were having." -- Michael Bisping, on a chit-chat with C.B Dollaway during Bisping's unanimous decision win.

Stock report

Up: Thomas Almeida. Two UFC fights, two victories, and two postfight bonuses for the hot bantamweight prospect straight outta Chute Boxe. You don't want to put too much hype on someone too fast, of course, but a first-round finish of a veteran like Yves Jabouin is a solid notch on any up-and-comers' belt. A matchup with a foe ranked in the division's 10-15 range seems a sensible next step for a 23-year-old with real potential.

Down: Sarah Kaufman. First off, let me preface this by saying it's not like anyone took a massive career tumble at UFC 186, the way Lyoto Machida did a week ago. But Kaufman essentially accepted a no-win situation when she took a third fight with Alexis Davis. Kaufman had already beaten Davis twice. If she won a third time, it wouldn't have added much to her resume. There's a pack of bantamweights who have already lost to Ronda Rousey and are doing their best to get rebuild their way toward another crack at her crown. By losing to Davis in the second round after handily winning the first, she falls to the back of said pack.

Hold: Quinton Jackson. On the one hand, it's hard to ignore the slow-footed, plodding performance "Rampage" put on in his return to the UFC. There's always an excuse when Rampage's performance is off, although this time, it's hard to blame him for letting go of his training when he thought he was off the card. Still, though, the way you interpret Jackson's decision win over Maldonado depends on how you perceive his future. If you were expecting Jackson to come in and compete against the top guys in the light heavyweight division, then last night was a downer. If you expect him to compete in fun fights for their own sake, like the rematch with Shogun Rua that Jackson suggested, then there's probably some mileage left in his tires. So let's see what Jackson does with a full camp without a legal challenge hanging over him before we draw judgement.

Interesting calls

I'm sure Jerin Valel means well. I'm sure he's a good guy. I'm sure he's dedicated to what he does. But I'm also sure that, given his burgeoning track record, commissions should not assign Valel to referee mixed martial arts fights on the highest level, for the time being.

On Saturday night, Valel was out of position on Davis' armbar of Kaufman, meaning he didn't see Kaufman repeatedly tap to the armbar and exposed her to damage considerably longer than was necessary. A couple extra seconds can be the difference between a sprain and a bone snap. Last time we saw Valel on the big stage, at UFC 184, Josh Koscheck was foaming at the mouth as he was being choked by Jake Ellenberger before Valel stopped it; and people in the upper deck at Staples Center could see that Mark Munoz was out cold from a Roan Carneiro choke before Valel did.

A baseball umpire who misses ball and strike calls might cost a team a game, but an MMA referee who is consistently too slow to break up submissions is risking a fighter's health and well-being. Valel quite simply needs to be retrained on submissions stoppages before he's allowed to officiate a high-stakes fight again.

Fight I'd like to see next: Demetrious Johnson vs. T.J. Dillashaw

Yes, I know, this one isn't getting made any time soon. But still, Johnson has run laps around the competition at 125 pounds. Before there was a UFC flyweight division, Mighty Mouse already made it to the No. 1 contender's position at bantamweight and acquitted himself well against the 20-1 Dominick Cruz. DJ's a much more complete fighter now than he was then. Should Dillashaw again beat Renan Barao, he's not eager to cross paths with mentor Urijah Faber; Cruz is injured; and the masses aren't exactly beating down the doors looking to make a Dillashaw-Rafael Assuncao rematch. So if you're looking to drum up interest in the lower weight classes, why not go ahead and make the superfight?

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