Their finals showdown will serve as the co-main event of One
“Century” to be held in Tokyo on Oct. 13. Let the numbers below
show just how electrifying this one could be.
1. Devastating debut
Not much was expected of the diminutive Johnson when he made his
pro debut on April 28, 2007, at an event called AXFC 16 –
Annihilation. Johnson went up against fellow debutant Brandon
Fieds. “Mighty Mouse” ended up needing only 17 seconds to
dispose of his opponent, who never fought again after that bout.
For Johnson, it was the complete opposite. That victory started a
10-fight winning streak in various promotions, including King of
the Cage and Alaska Fighting Championships.
2. First setback
With such an impressive winning run, Johnson earned a contract with
World Extreme Cagefighting. He was welcomed by Brad
Pickett, who was then a veteran of 22 professional fights.
While he was able to display some good kickboxing, Johnson had a
hard time fending off Pickett’s takedowns. The scrappy Englishman
was able to bring Johnson to the ground a total of 10 times in
three rounds to earn the nod from all three judges.
3. Octagon debut
When Johnson entered the Ultimate Fighting Championship, he wasn’t
just welcomed by anyone. Waiting for him at the center of the
Octagon on the night of Feb. 5, 2011, was Japanese legend Norifumi
“Kid” Yamamoto. Sure, Yamamoto was also a UFC debutant, but he was
a Hero’s Lightweight Grand Prix winner with victories over Genki Sudo,
Curran, Josh Thomson
Gracie. Johnson and Yamamoto squared off at UFC 126, with the
former controlling the latter for three rounds and taking the
unanimous decision win.
4. Beating an all-time great
Fresh off an impressive UFC debut, Johnson exuded confidence when
he faced Miguel
Torres. Confident but respectful was “Mighty Mouse,” who knew
what he was capable of but also who he was up against. At the time,
Torres was coming off a lackluster Octagon debut opposite Antonio
Banuelos, but he was still regarded as one of the
pound-for-pound best. After all, Torres had gone 37-1 before
suffering a surprise loss to Brian
Bowles followed by a loss to Joseph
Benavidez. Johnson and Torres engaged in a grappling
extravaganza, with Johnson coming out victorious after three
5. Flyweight king
After defeating Torres, Johnson bowed to Dominick
Cruz with the UFC bantamweight title at stake. As it turned
out, fate had other plans for Mighty Mouse, which came in the form
of the 125-pound strap. Johnson dropped to flyweight and drew with
McCall in his first fight. He defeated McCall in a rematch that
coincided with the semifinals of the flyweight tournament, the
winner of which would be crowned flyweight king. In the finals,
Johnson beat Joseph
Benavidez to become the UFC’s inaugural flyweight titleholder.