Demetrious Johnson picked up his second flyweight title defense at UFC on Fox 8, where he submitted John Moraga in the fifth and final round. With wins over the four most highly ranked 125-pound contenders, "Mighty Mouse" is now quietly becoming one of the more dominant UFC champions.
At this point, there is no flyweight contender who stands out as most deserving of a shot at Johnson. With that in mind, Johnson teased a return to bantamweight at the UFC on Fox 8 post-fight press conference.
"(A superfight) is just something to throw out there," he said. "I'm still focused on my weight division. I know there's up-and-coming fighters who are trying to come up and take what's mine, and I'll be there to defend it for the fans."
It might be too early to talk superfights for Johnson, who was dominated by bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz in his last appearance at 135 pounds. However, a few more title defenses at flyweight could make hs return to bantamweight a stronger possibility.
For now, here is what should really be next for Johnson and the rest of the UFC on Fox 8 competitors.
Thrown to the wolves in his UFC debut against Chad Mendes, Yaotzin Meza bounced back in his sophomore Octagon appearance against John Albert.
In the second round of a back-and-forth submission battle, Meza locked up a rear-naked choke to earn his first UFC victory. Instead of fighting for his job, he can now focus on trying to climb the ladder in the bantamweight division.
Albert, conversely, is likely expecting to be released by the UFC following his outing at UFC on Fox 8. The Ultimate Fighter 14 participant has lost four straight fights since winning in his official UFC debut. That losing streak, paired with him missing weight on Friday, should spell the end of his UFC run.
Like Meza, Yves Jabouin recently returned to the win column after a first-round knockout loss. So a bout between Meza and the Tristar Gym member makes sense now.
Julie Kedzie fell short in her UFC debut against Germaine de Randamie.
Although Kedzie scored a takedown in the second and third rounds, she wasn't able to accumulate much damage from the top position. In the end, the judges saw de Randamie's striking as more significant than Kedzie's grappling on the scorecards.
While Kedzie has now lost three in a row, she's still one of the bigger names in the women's bantamweight division and a fighter the UFC won't want to let go so soon. She'll likely be matched up with an opponent like Rosi Sexton, who is not ranked and is coming off of a loss of her own.
Germaine de Randamie made a solid first impression on UFC fans at UFC on Fox 8, where she defeated Julie Kedzie with superior striking.
The Dutch bantamweight out-landed Kedzie by 22 significant strikes on Saturday. She also stuffed seven of her opponent's nine takedown attempts. When she was grounded, de Randamie avoided taking a significant amount of damage.
De Randamie wasn't considered a serious contender when she joined the UFC roster, but this win makes her a fighter to watch in the women's bantamweight division. A bout with the winner of a UFC 163 bout between Amanda Nunes and Sheila Gaff could further cement de Randamie's top-10 ranking.
A poor performance at UFC on Fox 8 probably would have put UFC newcomer Trevor Smith on the chopping block. However, despite suffering a second straight loss, Smith earned Fight of the Night honors and praise from UFC brass:
Smith had a broken hand in the fight which makes him even more impressive!!!!— Dana White (@danawhite) July 27, 2013
Although Smith didn't do enough to beat Ed Herman on the scorecards, he took home a nice bonus for his entertaining outing. More importantly, he surely earned another shot to prove himself inside the Octagon.
That bout could come against an opponent like Nick Ring, who is also coming off of a split-decision loss to a TUF veteran in Chris Camozzi.
Though he's coming off of a loss to Ronaldo Souza under the Strikeforce banner, Ed Herman picked up a fourth straight win in official UFC bouts on Saturday.
Despite his streak of UFC victories, Herman's win over Strikeforce veteran Trevor Smith was his first since February 2012. Along with the submission loss to Souza, a no contest with Jake Shields was also sandwiched between his performance at UFC on Fox 8 and his prior UFC victory against Clifford Starks.
Although his win over Smith was important, it did more for Herman's job security than his standing in the middleweight division. He'll have to work his way up still, and a bout with fellow scrappy TUF veteran Tom Lawlor would allow him to do that.
Even though it came by split decision, Daron Cruickshank picked up one of the biggest victories of his MMA career on Saturday. A win over a grizzled veteran like Yves Edwards proved Cruickshank has what it takes to become a long-term UFC lightweight.
Justin Salas also picked up an important split-decision win at UFC on Fox 8. After 13 months of inactivity, he defeated Aaron Riley to avoid back-to-back losses. The result would prompt Aaron Riley's MMA retirement:
Fight my last MMA fight tonight. It's been fun but after 16 years I'm calling it good. Thanks to everyone who ever supported my career.— Aaron Riley (@aaronrileymma) July 28, 2013
Still ranked relatively low in the 155-pound class, Cruickshank and Salas are in similar spots following their wins over the weekend. A battle between the two now seems likely.
After a strong 2-0 start to his UFC career, Tim Means has fallen in two straight decisions. Although he out-landed Danny Castillo in significant strikes on Saturday, Means was taken down six times over three rounds.
In another close decision at UFC on Fox 8, Yves Edwards landed four more significant strikes than Daron Cruickshank. only to come up short on the judges' scorecards. Like Means, Edwards has now also lost in back-to-back decisions.
Assuming their timetables for return are about equal, Means and Edwards should meet in what could be a great striking matchup.
Following a decision win over Tim Means on Saturday, Danny Castillo has quietly won six of his eight UFC bouts since joining the promotions roster in March 2011.
Castillo had difficulty dealing with Means' reach when standing, but the Team Alpha Male member was able to do enough with his wrestling to pick up a second straight decision victory. It wasn't a win that makes him a contender, but he should now expect a bout with an opponent on a winning streak.
Isaac Vallie-Flagg is coming off of a decision win over Yves Edwards, so a bout between the Jackson's MMA member and Castillo would give one fighter the ability to make a move upward in the lightweight division.
Undefeated in his first nine professional MMA bouts, Michael Chiesa tasted defeat for the first time on Saturday. Though he's become known for being strongest on the ground, Chiesa was caught in a Brabo choke with one second left in the second round.
Mac Danzig also had a rough outing at UFC on Fox 8, where he was knocked out by Melvin Guillard. Following the loss, Danzig has now dropped three of his past four fights.
The weekend's results have opened the door for two TUF winners at very different stages of their careers to compete against one another. Chiesa and Danzig should meet in the coming months.
Jorge Masvidal has adapted well to life inside the Octagon following the closure of Strikeforce, his former promotion. With his submission of Michael Chiesa on Saturday, the lightweight has won his first two UFC bouts and looks to be a potential contender in the 155-pound division.
Melvin Guillard has also flirted with lightweight title contention, and he could be headed in that direction again. The UFC veteran avoided a third straight loss on Saturday by knocking out Mac Danzig.
Masvidal and Guillard are one or two wins away from breaking into the top-10 rankings, so a bout between the two could give the winner the shot he is looking for against a top lightweight contender.
Jessica Andrade was given more than she could handle in her UFC debut.
For her first Octagon appearance, the 21-year-old Andrade met former UFC title challenger Liz Carmouche. As many expected, Carmouche was the superior fighter in a bout that ended with a second-round technical knockout.
Despite the rough outing, Andrade is young and has a potentially bright future ahead. A matchup with the loser of a UFC 163 bout between Amanda Nunes and Sheila Gaff could give the Brazilian a good chance to get into the win column.
Liz Carmouche is one of the top fighters in the women's bantamweight division, and she showed why after being given a step down in competition following her recent loss to champion Ronda Rousey.
The former title challenger welcomed Jessica Andrade to the Octagon on Saturday. Carmouche wasted little time taking her opponent to the ground and working toward a finish, which she got late in the second stanza.
While Carmouche is going to need another win or two before being given another title shot, she's right up there with the best in the 135-pound division. A bout with Alexis Davis, who recently won in her UFC debut, could put her back in title shot conversation.
Bobby Voelker has stumbled out of the blocks since joining the UFC roster.
The Strikeforce veteran is 0-2 inside the Octagon following his knockout loss to Robbie Lawler on Saturday. However, it'd be surprising to see him released from the UFC welterweight division, as he helped the promotion out by accepting the fight on short notice.
Assuming Voelker does get a third shot to compete under the UFC banner, he should take a big step down in competition and meet William Macario. The Brazilian recently lost in the TUF: Brazil 2 finals, but he could bring another stand-up brawl to Voelker.
Robbie Lawler would like the attention of all UFC welterweights, and he's starting to get it with back-to-back knockouts since returning to the Octagon.
While Bobby Voelker was a clear step down from Josh Koscheck, Lawler was equally impressive in dispatching his fellow Strikeforce veteran as he was in finishing the TUF 1 participant. Lawler's knockout of Voelker isn't likely to bump him up in the rankings, but it should land him another top-10 opponent.
A lot of people probably would like to see former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine fight a more establish welterweight contender in his UFC debut. However, Lawler is proving to be just as legitimate a title threat as any and could threaten Saffiedine's striking with his unreal power.
After winning back-to-back fights, Jake Ellenberger suffered another setback at UFC on Fox 8.
For the better part of three rounds, Ellenberger had trouble dealing with Rory MacDonald's jab before finally figuring out a way to work inside for a takedown. At that point, it was too late, as he fell decisively on the scorecards.
Ellenberger's lackluster showing drew anger from fans and UFC brass, which could mean a step down in competition for his next bout. A matchup with a fellow heavy-hitting wrestler like Josh Koscheck would be interesting.
If Rory MacDonald is looking to delay a fight with teammate Georges St-Pierre as long as possible, he's doing an excellent job.
On top of all his injury setbacks, MacDonald missed out on an opportunity to solidify himself as the top welterweight contender on Saturday. He used a smart game plan to beat Jake Ellenberger at UFC on Fox 8, but his jab-heavy performance didn't leave many calling for him to meet the winner of an upcoming title fight between St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks.
Before his bout with Ellenberger, MacDonald was booked to meet Carlos Condit at UFC 158. Since that rematch was lost to injury, the UFC should consider putting it back together should Condit beat Martin Kampmann at UFC Fight Night 27.
John Moraga took a huge step up in competition to fight Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Fox 8, and it turned out he wasn't quite ready.
Though he was an accomplished collegiate wrestler, Moraga had no answer for the quickness of Johnson's takedowns. After several rounds of fighting off of his back, he was eventually caught in an armbar in the final minutes of the bout.
In the shallow flyweight division, it shouldn't take Moraga long to return to title contention. A bout with the loser of a UFC Fight Night 28 matchup between Joseph Benavidez and Jussier Formiga could put him right back in the thick of things.
Demetrious Johnson delivered a dominant performance against John Moraga that should silence some of his critics.
Over and over, "Mighty Mouse" took Moraga to the ground with his amazingly quick takedowns. With less than two minutes remaining in the fight, the flyweight champion locked up an armbar that would lead to his first finish inside the Octagon.
While it would appear Johnson has nearly cleaned out the 125-pound division already, there are still some interesting rematches for him. Joseph Benavidez took the champion to a split decision, so a third straight win against Jussier Formiga at UFC Fight Night 28 would make him more than deserving of a second shot at the belt.