Well, judging from the comments on the Internet, it depends on who you ask.
There are plenty of fans who enjoy Johnson for who he is: one of the most technical fighters in the game today. Much in the manner of former welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre, Johnson's performances tend to be very one-sided with little doubt as to who won.
But being such a dominant champion (Joe Rogan called him perfect during the UFC 174 broadcast) has its drawbacks as well. Fans not only expect Johnson to run over his competition, but they act displeased when it happens.
He was in complete control of Ali Bagautinov throughout the fight. Johnson would win a unanimous decision, not losing a single round to his challenger. But as dominant as the performance was, it was still missing something.
A definitive finish.
Everyone knows Johnson is better than Bagautinov, but the fight still went the distance. On a night where the fights seemed to drag to a decision, Johnson could have used another finish. He has shown he's capable of finishing top-level fighters, knocking out Joseph Benavidez and tapping out John Moraga in his previous title defenses.
I can appreciate what the champ brings to the cage; he's one of the best fighters in all of MMA without a doubt. He brings a well-rounded game but, along with the rest of the flyweight division, has struggled to catch on with MMA fans.
If the fighters on the UFC's roster don't respect the flyweights, why should fans care?
The UFC has tried very hard to build up the flyweight division by featuring Johnson on national television. He was a big part of three consecutive UFC on Fox broadcasts, which in theory should have built up his name to sell a pay-per-view.
The only problem is that UFC 174 is likely to do terrible in terms of buys, and it suffered from a complete lack of promotion. But still, he had the opportunity to show people who didn't care to watch UFC 174 what they would be missing.
Instead, he put on a lackluster, albeit dominant, performance against Bagautinov.
Johnson isn't into hyping up fights with trash talk, and that's fine. But if you're going to be a top pound-for-pound fighter who doesn't like to talk, you better give fans a reason to watch you in the cage. There comes a point when simply being dominant isn't enough.
The UFC flyweight division desperately needed a finish from Johnson at UFC 174 to help create another pay-per-view draw. Instead, he offered a typical performance where he won decisively on the judges' scorecards.
If that's your cup of tea, then good for you. But for a lot of fans, that isn't enough to make them drop 50 dollars on a pay-per-view.
Johnson had a great chance to put the flyweight division on the map at UFC 152 in September 2012 and failed to do so. It's not often that you get a second chance to make an impact for an entire division while headlining a pay-per-view card, and he squandered his opportunity at UFC 174.
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