Demetrious Johnson will be attempting to make history this Saturday at UFC 216, by defeating Ray Borg to score his eleventh title defense as flyweight champion. But, if he does set a new title defense record, who might he face next?
Due to Johnson’s storied reign as the 125 champ, he’s already defeated several of the division’s top contenders. As a result, Johnson frequently fields questions regarding who he’ll face in the future. Or, even if he’s thinking about making a move to 135.
Well, leading up to Johnson’s bout with Borg, this hasn’t changed. During a recent media luncheon to promote UFC 216, Johnson had this to say, while discussing who could advance into a title fight with him (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“I think Sergio Pettis has more of style that will give Henry Cejudo fits because he’s been around the block a little more,” Johnson said, while referring to the upcoming, December 2nd bout between Pettis and Cejudo. “It’ll be a good fight. I think (the winner is next in line). Obviously Henry Cejudo just came back and got in the winner column. Pettis, he’s on a three-fight win streak, and if he wins this fight, I think he’s the No. 1 contender in the flyweight division. He has four fights in a row.”
“I can’t think of another athlete – maybe Magomed Bibulatov,” Johnson added, while referring to the undefeated Bibulatov, who will fight John Moraga at UFC 216. “I can’t think of how many he has in a row, but we’ll see what happens.”
If Pettis defeats Cejudo then it’s hard to argue that he shouldn’t receive a title shot. After all, he’s ranked #4, he would have defeated the #2 contender in Cejudo, and, Pettis hasn’t fought Johnson before. So, that fight would make a ton of sense.
But, you have to wonder if the UFC would give Cejudo another title shot already, if he gets by Pettis. Cejudo was quickly stopped by Johnson last April, and then later in the year, he lost via split decision to Joseph Benavidez. So, it’s not certain there would be a lot of fan buzz for a rematch yet.
Johnson also relayed at the luncheon that if all goes well, he hopes to defend the 125 belt a 12th and 13th time. First things first, however, and that’s getting by Borg.