With his unanimous decision over Ian McCall at UFC on FX 3, Demetrious Johnson advanced to the UFC flyweight tournament final and he’s already forming his strategy to win it.
Joseph Benavidez will be the opponent standing in his way.
“The thing I’ve got to watch out for with Joseph is that obviously he knows where I’m weak at, which is take me down and hold me there and ground-and-pound me and all that stuff,” Johnson told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “I’m just going to go back, work on my ground, my wrestling and my standup because I think I can take him on the feet. Nobody in the UFC has beat me on the feet yet. I’ve got to keep using my footwork, using my hands and my elevation change and all that good stuff and staying fluid out there and just take it to Joseph.”
Benavidez advanced to the final with a second-round stoppage of Yasuhiro Urushitani in March. He’ll pose an unorthodox challenge, but Johnson has been in the cage with unorthodox fighters before. Last October, “Mighty Mouse” went five rounds with Dominick Cruz.
“You keep your hands up,” Johnson said when asked how he would handle Benavidez’s style. “You keep your footwork moving. You move yourself all the time, and it’s going to be hard for him to track you down. It’s just like when I fought Dominick. Everybody was like, ‘Man, his footwork’s so hard to deal with. It’s so hard to stay with him.’ But if you’ve been raised to fight correctly and just move with your opponent and move while you strike and never get off balance and just attack, attack, then you’re able to deal with that.”
The fight could happen sooner than initially expected after Johnson’s win over McCall. Following that bout he’d been told he had a hernia, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Johnson still plans on getting an X-ray on his right hand as well, but if he’s cleared, he’ll be ready to discuss when he can fight Benavidez.
Regardless of when the match comes together, Johnson expects it to be a thriller.
“He’s never been finished his whole entire career,” Johnson said. “It would be nice to finish him, but I don’t see that happening. It’s going to be a great fight. It’s probably going to be Fight of the Year at 125. We’re going to deliver. There’s a reason why Dana White put this weight class in the UFC and we’re going to prove once again why he did it.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:46:45).