Another day, another solid win by Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. Another example of why he’s in the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC, and the best flyweight fighter the MMA world has ever seen.

At UFC 186, not only did Johnson win, but his submission victory over Kyoji Horiguchi was one for the record books: with one second left in the fight, at 4:59 of the fifth and final round, he forced the challenger to tap to an arm bar. A last second submission had never before been seen in a title fight, yet here it was, reminding all of just how good Mighty Mouse really is.

Will the box office reflect that? No. By all accounts UFC 186 was a disaster at the gate, forcing the promotion to tarp off the upper levels of the Bell Centre in Montreal. It’s likely that the PPV buyrate will mirror that. The card paled in comparison to UFC on Fox 15 just a week earlier, which was a resounding success overall. UFC 186? A flub, plain and simple, ripped apart by injury, legal turmoil, and general disinterest in the promotion’s lightest weight class.

Luckily for the UFC, it’s the first flub of the year. And it’s not the fault of Johnson, who did everything he had to do. In promoting the event, the generally soft-spoken fighter even attempted to grab headlines, claiming he would make short work of boxing legend Floyd Mayweather; in the octagon, he did what he always does, dominating a game Horiguchi for most of the fight (it should be noted that Horiguchi by no means was an easy out, and landed some good shots on the champ, but was far from ever really putting him in danger).

Now the question becomes “who’s next?” — or better yet, “who’s left?” as Johnson has pretty much cleaned out the flyweight division, especially with John Lineker sent packing to bantamweight after one too many failures to make weight.

Which brings us to three fights Mighty Mouse should take next.

Henry Cejudo

At this point, you probably think I’m certifiably insane. And admittedly, granting Cejudo a title shot is something of a stretch. However, before you book me an appointment at the loony bin, the same could be said for Chris Cariaso when he received his shot at Johnson’s title. Though he had far more UFC experience, it was a stretch, but an opponent was needed.

While Cejudo’s relative inexperience and short UFC resume are a factor, consider that he’s an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, undefeated in his career, a champion in WFF (World Fighting Federation), and defeated the aforementioned Cariaso, a former title challenger.

Cejudo is one of the most decorated wrestlers in the UFC at the moment, if not the most decorated, and could legitimately pose problems for Mighty Mouse. The preference would be to allow him time to develop, but in a division with a serious drought when it comes to challengers, he may not get that luxury. If he defeats Chico Camus at UFC 188, there’s an argument to be made for booking him a shot later in the year.

John Dodson

The argument against Cejudo, or anyone else for that matter,  would be John “The Magician” Dodson. The number one ranked flyweight in the UFC official rankings, he’s coming back from injury to take on Zack Machovsky at UFC 187, and if you want the honest answer, this is the fight the UFC should make. It’s the fight fans want to see, as Dodson is a special talent in the octagon who won season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter by knocking out the man who is now bantamweight champion, T.J. Dillashaw. He has lost to Mighty Mouse once already, in a title shot at UFC on Fox 6, but it was a close fight and worthy of a second outing.

However, should Machovsky throw a wrench in the works, other options will need to be considered.

T.J. Dillashaw

Which brings us to the tired notion of a “superfight” that is really not that super. No knock on Mighty Mouse, but T.J. Dillashaw doesn’t have enough title defenses at bantamweight to make pairing the two of them up anything more than a good fight featuring a fighter moving up in weight to take on a new challenge.

And we should remember that Johnson was at a size disadvantage prior to the creation of the flyweight division, when he was able to drop down and fight at his more natural weight.

Would this be a solid fight? Absolutely. But the better option would be Dodson, and for Dillashaw to get a couple more title defenses under his belt. And, should he lose to Renan Barao in their rematch, then all bets are off.

Still, this is a fight that could help elevate the status of the flyweight division in the eyes of (some) fans. Marketed right, if all other options are off the table, it’s a fallback plan that could sell.

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.