DJ and JJ, Both Chasing Records

 

The UFC just announced that Demetrious Johnson will defend his UFC Flyweight championship in the headline against Ray Borg at UFC 215 on September 9th while Amanda Nunes is re-booked against Valentina Shevchenko as the co-main event.  While the card may appear stacked or close to being stacked with Junior Dos Santos and Francis Ngannou also included, it isn’t likely to fare well in terms of pay per view buys.  The discussion of pay per view buys always appears to present itself when discussing Demetrious Johnson.  Interestingly enough, Johnson finds himself in a similar position as Joanna Jedrzejczyk, only she hasn’t gotten as much flack as “Mightymouse” has.  Both highly active champs are also chasing records in their respective divisions.

Johnson, 30, has been around much longer and has been a champion a lot longer than Joanna Champion, but unlike Jedrzejczyk, Johnson wasn’t awarded the same opportunity of having his division available when he came onto the scene.  The pride of Poland, Jedrzejczyk made her UFC debut in 2014, a few weeks after Ronda Rousey’s 16 second knockout victory over Alexis Davis in the co-headlining act. Women’s MMA or more accurately, Ronda Rousey was establishing herself as a superstar outside of the MMA bubble.  Dana White was noticeably a lot more giddy and still is when discussing the women’s multiple divisions than when he is discussing the men’s flyweight division.

Jedrzejczyk, like DJ is in the process of cleaning out her division, but unlike Johnson, she appears daunt during the process of cutting weight and has mentioned eventually moving up a weight class after she sets a new women’s UFC title defense record, which currently sits at six and is held by Ronda Rousey.  Jedrzejczyk is currently at five and is expected to face Rose Namajunas next sometime later in the year.  Johnson also has his sights on setting a new record for UFC title defenses that was set by Anderson Silva and currently sits at 10. “Mightymouse” tied the record in April against an over matched Wilson Reis.  Talks about a move to 135 lbs if he is able to break Silva’s record haven’t exactly been promising.  The TJ Dillashaw fiasco was a good example of what happens when a UFC champion who lacks star power finds his or herself in a disagreement with the boss, Dana White.

White assumed that Johnson would be on board with the idea of Dillashaw dropping down to a weight class he’s never competed in and challenge for Johnson’s most coveted prize.  The two bickered back and forth through social media and via the MMA media, but eventually Johnson got what he wanted, except he didn’t really.

Johnson’s complaints about lack of promotion should not be overlooked as we’ve seen Joanna Jedrzejczyk receive much more praise and admiration from the UFC brass, and even fight fans.  The complaints on Johnson’s lack of competition could be used against Jedrzejczyk as well. While Ray Borg isn’t viewed as somebody who could potentially dethrone Johnson, neither is Rose Namajunas.  In fact, Namajunas lost against one of Jedrzejczyk’s previous opponents, Karolina Kowalkiewicz.  Jessica Penne was given a title shot in 2015 after one UFC win, a split decision over Randa Markos.  Jessica Andrade earned a title shot against Jedrzejczykat at UFC 211 after a 3 fight wining streak that consisted of Angela Hill Joanne Calderwood and Jessica Penne.  No disrespect to the three, but they are not on the level of somebody like Claudia Gadelha, who would’ve gotten the next title shot had she not lost to the champion twice in the span of two years.  Joseph Benavidez is in a similar position in the men’s flyweight division.

Both divisions are still developing, but the complaints about the men’s 125 lb division is more frequent than those about the women’s 115 lb division.  Johnson, unlike Jedrzejczyk could stick to his division for the rest of his MMA career and that seems to bother some folks.  He is not to blame for the lack of competition, instead the UFC should invest in seeking a new crop of flyweights from outside of the organization. The UFC bantamweight champion, Cody “No Love” Garbrandt stated his plan of dropping down to flyweight after his next title defense in an attempt to become a two weight champion, which could make things interesting.  Garbrandt, unlike Dillashaw is the current champion so there should be no issues in DJ accepting the fight. His problem with fighting Dillashaw was that he was that the latter was not wearing gold and held no wins at flyweight and he makes a good point.

Johnson will be headlining UFC’s return to Canada since last December and he is no stranger to performing in the “Great White North.” With no GSP in sight, he is tasked with carrying the card that could be a historic night as he attempts to set a new UFC title defense record.  Amanda Nunes, like Johnson is in the doghouse and have both been accused by fans of being scared of stiff competition.  UFC 215 is filled with many layers.  Should make for a good show.

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