In a flash, the rematch was over. UFC flyweight champion, Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson made sure Joseph Benavidez caught some Zs at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., on Saturday night. A mammoth counter right hand left no doubt who the king of the UFC flyweight division is.
The official word wasn't released just yet, but it is safe to say the champion earned himself KO of the Night honors with this one.
The two had battled back in September 2012 at UFC 152. Johnson won that bout by a split decision to become the first-ever flyweight champion. This time, he didn't want to wait five rounds for the result, so he finished it early.
Speed is always the key for Johnson, but on Saturday night, he mixed in a little bit of pop and gave fans what they may have been missing from the flyweight champion.
How impressive and unexpected was the early KO? Johnson hadn't ever stopped an opponent in the first round in the UFC, and it was the first time he'd scored a KO win in three years. In addition to that, it was the first time Benavidez had ever been stopped in his career.
For the early portions of the round, Johnson was content to dash out of the way of Benavidez's attempts to strike. The champion mixed in a few takedown attempts that the challenger thwarted. In retrospect, Benavidez will probably wish he had allowed himself to be taken down on one of those attempts.
His fate could have been a lot better—or at least the loss would have taken a bit longer to materialize.
Early on, it looked as if Johnson would be able to use his speed and impeccable technique to outwork Benavidez, but he ultimately decided to show us that there is indeed some mighty in that mouse.
Johnson has effectively cleaned out the top portion of the division by beating Benavidez twice, knocking off John Dodson and Ian McCall. Those three fighters are the highest-rated challengers listed at UFC.com.
It will be interesting to see who challenges Johnson next.
As for Benavidez, he has to be at a loss. Where does he go from here having had two shots at the champion and failed in both attempts? He'll have to go to the end of the line as others rise and try their hand at catching one fast—and apparently strong mouse.
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