Demetrious Johnson was pleased to be Israel Adesanya‘s pick as the GOAT of mixed martial arts.
The GOAT debate has been rampant ever since Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s retirement in October with many in the combat sports world going back-and-forth over who they felt were deserving of the unofficial accolade.
While names like Nurmagomedov, Jon Jones and Georges St-Pierre have been thrown around, Adesanya came out last month and spoke of Johnson as his personal pick.
“Well, if you want to talk about ultimate GOATs, did everyone just forget about Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson? If you want to talk about the most consistent, you know you talk about records, fighter of all time.
“F*ck weight classes, just the perfect fighter, near perfect, never had one blemish outside the Octagon with steroids or anything like that. Never had any real problems outside the Octagon. Few losses here and there from Cruz and Cejudo. But a phenomenal fighter.”
Johnson — now at ONE Championship — was happy to receive praise from the UFC middleweight champion who he shares a mutual respect with and made sure to throw some back his way.
“I think it’s awesome,” Johnson told MMA Fighting. “I have nothing but respect for Izzy and I told him after what he did to Paulo [Costa], ‘If you keep putting on performances like that, you’re gonna be well on your way.’
“The way he dismantled him, it’s very rare that a fighter will do something in a fight that will make me think about certain things and what he did to Paulo, I was like, ‘Duh, simple. Footwork. That’s the easy way to nullify Paulo Costa’s striking.’ What he did to Uriah Hall, Yoel Romero, he couldn’t do it to Adesanya because he used footwork.”
Johnson is undeniably on the GOAT contender list and he believes “The Last Stylebender” will be on that list too sooner rather than later — especially with some big fights on the horizon for the undefeated Adesanya.
“I was like, ‘Good for you, Izzy. You impress me all the time,’” Johnson said. “After he knocked out Paulo I was like, ‘Yup, he’s on his way.’
“If he keeps doing that, and then goes up to light heavyweight, then if he goes up to heavyweight to fight Jon Jones, those are all the steps. I feel that he’s gonna be in the sport for a long time, a champion for a long time as long as he keeps on evolving. I feel like he has the mindset to do that because he watches anime. Anime always keeps your mind fresh and keeps you evolving.”
Do you agree with “Mighty Mouse”?