The longest-reigning current champion in the UFC and the only flyweight champion the company has ever known, Demetrious Johnson, took another step toward immortality on Saturday night.
With his third-round submission victory over Wilson Reis in the main event of UFC on FOX 24 in Kansas City, the Tacoma, Wash. native had his 10th successful title defense. That ties him with legendary former middleweight champion Anderson Silva for the most title defenses in UFC history.
For his part, Johnson, who has held the title since Sept. 2012, is not going to shy away from the idea he’s one of the greatest champions in MMA history.
“[Georges St-Pierre] was a great champion, but I am the greatest champion ever to set foot in this Octagon,” Johnson said.
Johnson barely seemed to break a sweat against an opponent who’s no joke. In the opening round, Johnson demoralized Reis by effortlessly dodging his attempts at offense, and darting in and out and landing at will.
This continued into the second round, until the round’s final seconds, when Johnson delivered a wicked knee to the midsection. Johnson went for broke going for the finish on the grounded Reis, but Reis hung on and survived to the horn.
But that wasn’t the case in the third. In the closing minute, Johnson landed a right hand, shot a double for a takedown, bloodied Reis with ruthless ground-and-pound, then took the opening for an armbar, submitting the jiu-jitsu black belt at the 4:49 mark.
“This was the best training camp I ever had,” Johnson said. “[Coach] Matt Hume said, ‘just be you.’”
Not only was this Johnson’s 10th successful title defense, but it was his 12th straight win, making him 12-0-1 since dropping to 125 pounds. He’s also 16-1-1 in his past eighteen fights.
Reis dropped to 22-7 and saw a three-fight win streak snapped.