MMA’s What If: Demetrious Johnson defeated Henry Cejudo for a Second Time

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In a new series for the MMASucka channel, we look at alternative outcomes to major happenings within the world of MMA. As we know, fights can turn in just seconds and we look at the outcomes if this happened in specific situations.

In this piece, we look at what might have happened if Demetrious Johnson hadn’t lost to Henry Cejudo in their rematch in 2018.

Check out our first article here, looking at what would have happened if Ronda Rousey defeated Amanda Nunes.

MMA’s What If: Demetrious Johnson defeated Henry Cejudo for a Second Time

What Really Happened

As we know, the rematch happened after ‘DJ’ defeated Cejudo in a convincing fashion back in 2016. Johnson then went on to make a further three defences of his title before rematching Cejudo. Cejudo himself worked his way back to a title opportunity. Despite losing his next bout after Johnson, he won two back-to-back fights, cementing another title opportunity.

On the night at UFC 227, Cejudo shocked everyone by defeating ‘Might Mouse’ by split decision. He outworked the long time champion, ending his winning run, ending his run of most consecutive title defences in UFC history and ending his dominant reign over the flyweights.

What played out following the bout was a swap deal between the UFC and ONE Championship, letting Demetrious Johnson go and bringing in Ben Askren.

What Could Have Happened…

The rematch goes the same way as the first bout between the two men. ‘Mighty Mouse’ utilises his superior MMA background. He avoids the takedowns as he did in the original fight. We saw Cejudo was vulnerable to the knees in the clinch, which DJ once again utilises. Although this time he doesn’t finish him, the knees to the body have paid dividends and slow Cejudo down.

Tired and seemingly out of ideas, Cejudo becomes desperate, however, the champion has enough in the gas tank to avoid any of Cejudo’s advances, using his footwork and staying out of danger. AND STILL – again.

The Outcome of a Second DJ Win

  • This one has a number of implications if this outcome was to occur. Firstly, Demetrious Johnson would have extended his record for consecutive title defences to 12. He would also have tied Georges St Piere for second on most title fight wins with 13. He would have extended his overall win streak to 14. We can’t predict who he would face next, however, if he were to stay at flyweight, he would likely continue to dominate. However, we could assume that TJ Dillashaw would still drop down to 125lbs. We don’t, however, know whether he would take PED’s and therefore suffer a two-year suspension. We know that TJ wanted the DJ fight, but Johnson didn’t seem keen. If the fight itself never went ahead, it would obviously have implications on both the bantamweight and flyweight divisions but we can’t easily predict the way that they play out.
  • Demetrious Johnson doesn’t swap to ONE, therefore Askren doesn’t move to the UFC. The implications of this would be huge. Askren therefore wouldn’t have suffered the quickest knockout in UFC history (5 seconds) at the hands (or knee) of Jorge Masvidal. Masvidal, perhaps wouldn’t become the star that he did following that knockout, meaning that he wouldn’t get the ‘BMF’ title bout or his two following UFC title fights.Askren would likely see out the remainder of his career in ONE, retiring undefeated. He also wouldn’t be such a big name in the sport and therefore wouldn’t have boxed Jake Paul. Paul would have to fight someone else with a name as big as Askren’s, who would likey take the bout a lot more seriously than ‘Funky’ did.
  • Henry Cejudo would fall to 2-3 in his last five and have to either work his way back to a title shot at flyweight or move back up to bantamweight and make a title run there. With that being said, if he stayed at 125lbs and worked his way back to a title shot, it would be a hard sell if he fell to 0-2 against Demetrious Johnson. We wouldn’t have ‘Triple C’ and could very well still be seeing him fight and not retire prematurely.

Who knew that Johnson losing to Cejudo would ultimately impact Jake Paul, the world of Youtube boxing, Jorge Masvidal and Ben Askren’s legacy? Stay tuned to MMASucka for more ‘MMA What ifs’!

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Frazer Krohn has been with MMASucka for nearly 5 years. He is the host of the MMASucka podcast, which is released every Monday. He's the author of a series of six books about MMA, which were published in 2023.

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