He is a complete fighter who made a very game Ali Bagautinov look uncomfortable.
The champion mixed it up well and was able to win round after round en route to a unanimous decision. He frustrated Bagautinov as the fight progressed because there was next to nothing that was working for the Dagestani.
Mighty Mouse is the elite of the elite in the UFC today. He is a special talent.
This is what we learned from the main event of UFC 174.
What We'll Remember About This Fight
There is no one thing we will remember. Johnson was unable to land the knockout strike or nab the submission finish. However, we will remember Johnson's ridiculous array of skills.
In, out and around—he was everywhere. It is easy to lay a blanket statement and talk about his speed, but his technique is what makes it incredible to watch. It's not just speed. His footwork and head movement are impeccable. He switches levels remarkably well.
Johnson is the cream of the crop.
What We Learned About Ali Bagautinov
We learned Bagautinov has what it takes to become a serious contender.
Johnson: "Ali B is tough, I hit him with a lot of hard shots ... I don't know how many times I hit his jaw. My knees are on fire." #UFC174— UFCONFOX (@UFCONFOX) June 15, 2014
Sure, he will always be a significant underdog, but he showcased his skills well in this fight. And fighting Johnson will only improve him as a fighter moving forward. He will have learned a great deal from this bout.
Bagautinov was strong in the clinch and has good punching power. He was able to eat many of Johnson's shots and keep coming. He has the tools to get into a gritty affair against Johnson, but he must be able to do that in a future contest.
The champion's quickness and well-rounded abilities made it tough at UFC 174, but Bagautinov shouldn't be counted all the way out in any future matchup.
What We Learned About Demetrious Johnson
Honestly, not much. That is only because Mighty Mouse has been simply phenomenal in his recent outings.
He showcased his grit coming up and taking the title against Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez. He then showcased his resolve against John Dodson. He finally followed that up with submission and KO victories over John Moraga and Benavidez, respectively.
He's shown a full range of skills and abilities. That is why he deserves to be mentioned in the pound-for-pound discussion.
What's Next for Ali Bagautinov
He will not fall far down the rankings, if at all, but he is not close to a title rematch. Should the UFC line him up against another top-five fighter such as John Moraga? That's highly questionable.
Bagautinov is at least two fights away, and as such, he should fight someone in the back half of the top 10 before getting into a potential title eliminator. Seeing Bagautinov face off against the winner of August's matchup between Timothy Elliott and Wilson Reis would be a treat for UFC fans.
What's Next for Demetrious Johnson
That is the only name that makes sense, and the top-ranked contender is coming off a victory over No. 5-ranked John Moraga. He has done everything he needs to do to earn the rematch, and he is the only man to pose a real threat to Johnson's reign.
This is the fight to make.