At UFC 186 in Montreal this Saturday, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson returns to defend his flyweight championship for the sixth time since winning the UFC’s 125lb title back in 2012. Squaring off against him is Japanese karate practitioner Kyoji Horiguchi, a former Shooto bantamweight champion.

It’s easy to look past Horiguichi. Pro since only 2010, prior to being tabbed for this fight he had actually downplayed the possibility of fighting for a title so early in his UFC career. Then a lack of contenders at 125lbs combined with the ACL injury to John Dodson and that fact that Mighty Mouse has already defeated “The Magician” once resulted in Horiguchi, 7th in the flyweight division, jumping to the front of the line. Couple that with the dominance of Johnson, and it seems like a one-sided fight.

That said, despite the seemingly rushed progress of his UFC career, Horiguchi does pose some problems for Mighty Mouse. He’s a finisher, with nine wins by KO/TKO on his 15-1 record. Two of those have come in the UFC, where he has four wins overall. He’s undefeated since 2012, as is Johnson himself. And he’s trained by none other than Kid Yamamoto.

What must Demetrious Johnson do to retain his title at UFC 186?

Avoid Horiguchi’s Power

If there’s one area Kyoji Horiguchi has been successful, it’s on the feet with his striking. Those nine knockout wins are far from a fluke; he does possess excellent hand speed and has been one of the more consistent finishers in the flyweight division. The speed of Mighty Mouse, however, should be able to counteract that, as he can rely on it to keep distance from his opponent and stay out of the danger zone.

Avoid Complacency

The worst thing Demetrious Johnson could do at UFC 186 would be to look past his opponent, as so many fans and media pundits have done. The going theory on the main event Saturday is that it will be a cakewalk for Johnson, and that’s often the point when opponents are at their most dangerous. Horiguchi has nothing to lose in this fight. He can execute nearly any game plan he sees fit under the guise of “well, I’m expected to lose, why not go for broke?” and next to no one will question it. And it may be tempting for Mighty Mouse to see this as an easy out — though the champion simply doesn’t seem to be the type to look past anyone.

In any case, Johnson must avoid complacency, as Horiguchi may be out to show that he can surprise the MMA world and make a statement.

Just Be Mighty Mouse

There’s a reason Demetrious Johnson is ranked third on the UFC’s Pound-for-Pound list: he really is that good. His speed and precision are second to none and there’s no reason to expect an upset at UFC 186, so long as he fights to the level he’s capable of. And there’s no reason to believe he’ll do otherwise.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.