Demetrious Johnson beats Henry Cejudo to defend flyweight title

ByBrett Okamoto ESPN logo
Sunday, April 24, 2016

LAS VEGAS -- Demetrious Johnsonis just making it look easy. Again.

The only flyweight champion in UFC history, Johnson (24-2-1), 29, recorded his eighth title defense Saturday by knocking out Henry Cejudo (10-1) at 2:49 of the first round. Referee John McCarthy stopped the fight after Cejudo fell to the floor and covered up after absorbing knees to the body in the clinch.

The title defense moves Johnson within two of former middleweight champion Anderson Silva's UFC-record 10 consecutive title defenses, and his 10-fight winning streak ranks fifth all-time.

The fight was also the second-fastest defense of Johnson's career, 41 seconds shy of a knockout over Joseph Benavidez in 2013.

"There is no game plan," Johnson said. "I come in here and just fight. My clinch is dangerous, and I have the best trainers in the world. Once I spun him off-balance and threw that left knee to the liver, I said, 'It's over. I'm not backing up. It's on.'"

Johnson, who fights out of Kirkland, Washington, also referred to himself as the sport's No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter. had Johnson ranked as exactly that coming into the weekend.

Cejudo, 29, has been fighting professionally only since 2013, but he was viewed as a potential threat to Johnson because of his achievements in wrestling. He is the youngest American to ever win a gold medal in wrestling, achieving the feat at 21 years old in 2008.

That wrestling background didn't help Cejudo much Saturday, however. He scored one takedown, an inside leg trip that drew a response from the crowd, but Johnson quickly kicked him off and jumped back to his feet.

Johnson's clinch has devastated several flyweights before, and it did the same to Cejudo. Johnson caught him in the head with a left knee, and after Cejudo stumbled backward, clearly hurt, Johnson pursued with a left hook and more knees to the body. Cejudo went down shortly thereafter.

It is the fifth knockout win of Johnson's career. He has not lost since 2011, and that came in the bantamweight division, before the UFC opened a 125-pound weight class. He has recorded finishes in five of his eight title defenses.