The UFC returned to Fox on Saturday night for its sixth network TV event. In the main event, the newly minted flyweight division took center stage as champion Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson looked to defend his belt against The Ultimate Fighter winner John Dodson.
Johnson won a four-man tournament to become the inaugural champion at 125 pounds. His victories over Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez to win the belt saw him win decisions against the top-ranked flyweights on the planet.
Although he won season 14 of TUF while fighting as a bantamweight, Dodson quickly established himself as a member of the flyweight elite by winning bouts against Tim Elliott and former Shooto champion Jussier da Silva (aka Jussier Formiga).
After Dodson controlled the standup for the first two rounds, he began to fade as Johnson took control. The champion won the final three rounds to earn a hard-fought unanimous-decision victory and had 199 significant strikes along the way.
What We'll Remember about This Fight
The incredible comeback of Demetrious Johnson. Mighty Mouse took a lot of damage in the first two rounds, being dropped on three separate occasions. After one particular combination, DJ went down, and the writing appeared to be on the wall.
Instead of allowing himself to fall, the champion regained his composure and refused to lose any of the fight's final three rounds.
What We Learned about Demetrious Johnson
He has the heart necessary to overcome and persevere against incredible opposition. The damage sustained in the first two rounds was enough to make most viewers believe that Dodson was simply a superior striker who would inevitably score the knockout.
Instead, the relentless pressure and cardio of Johnson tired his opponent, and Mighty Mouse took control for the final half of this contest.
What We Learned about John Dodson
Dodson doesn't have the killer instinct that makes a fighter great. After dropping Mighty Mouse with a four-punch combo in the second round, Dodson was content to allow his opponent to stand back up with plenty of breathing room.
Additionally, we saw the impressive takedown defense of "The Magician" on display. We knew previously that he was hard to take down, but seeing him defend a high-level wrestler like Johnson speaks volumes about his skill set.
What's next for Demetrious Johnson
With few marketable stars currently in the flyweight division, we look to the guys who are finishing fights when determining title contenders.
John Moraga is coming off back-to-back stoppages. In a 12-man division where the champion has already faced the top three contenders, that makes him the best option that isn't an unnecessary rematch.
What's next for John Dodson
Dodson had a solid performance and has nothing to be ashamed of at all. The only other high-profile bout in the division pits Ian McCall against Joseph Benavidez.
The loser of that contest will be in similar shoes as the Magician and could make for a solid summer matchup.