Henry Cejudo Shocks the World, Defeats Demetrious Johnson to Become UFC Flyweight Champion

Henry Cejudo pulled off what seemed like the impossible as he handed Demetrious Johnson his first defeat in nearly seven years to become the new UFC flyweight champion.

Henry Cejudo already has Olympic gold and now he has UFC gold to match.

On Saturday night in front of a raucous crowd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Cejudo put on the performance of a lifetime as he was able to out work Demetrious Johnson over five round to earn a hard fought split decision victory at UFC 227.

It was arguably the best flyweight fight in the history of the division as Cejudo was able to use a strong wrestling attack to counter Johnson’s speed over the course of five rounds to get the job done.

At first it appeared Cejudo’s night might end really early after it seemed like he rolled an ankle during an early exchange with Johnson on the feet. As it turns out, Cejudo says he caught a kick from Johnson on his calf that caused some sort of cramp but he was able to work it out by the end of the round.

As for Johnson, he was concentrating on a striking attack as he continued to come after Cejudo with a barrage of kicks to the legs and body.

Cejudo countered with a nice inside trip takedown during the second round as he was finally able to put Johnson on the mat and hold him there for a few moments. Still, Cejudo struggled to do much damage before Johnson was able to scramble free to get back to his feet.

As the third round got underway, Cejudo attempted to duplicate his success with more wrestling attacks but this time Johnson was more than ready to defend the takedowns. Each time Cejudo exploded forward in attempt to wrestle Johnson down, the incumbent champion quickly scrambled out to get back to his feet.

Once he was at striking range, Johnson was landing with more volume and accuracy but he was still wary of the power that Cejudo was throwing back at him.

With less than two minutes remaining in the round, Cejudo was able to secure another takedown and while he was able to maintain top control, he couldn’t do much damage because an inch of breathing room may have allowed Johnson to escape.

Still, Cejudo’s wrestling and control on the mat was eating up a lot of time on the clock, which certainly could have weighed on the judges’ minds as they were adding up the scorecards.

With a back and forth fight throughout, Johnson had to know that his title was being threatened for the first time in several years. In response, Johnson turned up the pressure with his kickboxing game while attempting to batter Cejudo to the body and then counter striking to the head.

Cejudo was undeterred as he continued to look for the takedowns to drag Johnson to the mat while still managing to land some solid shots on the feet.

After five non-stop action rounds, the judges returned a split decision in favor of Cejudo, who becomes the second ever UFC flyweight champion while stopping Johnson’s historic reign at 11 total title defenses.

Afterwards, Cejudo earned the right to celebrate his monumental victory but he was already turning his attention to another challenge that he wants next.

“I want to fight the winner at 135 pounds,” Cejudo shouted. “I deserve it. Olympic champion, now UFC champion, now give me the best at 135 pounds. Demetrious Johnson didn’t go up. They don’t have to come down, I’m going up. I want that belt, too!”

Cejudo definitely called his shot but it’s tough to imagine that he won’t be headed towards a rematch considering Johnson’s incredible long reign atop the division. Either way, Cejudo shook up the status quo and injected a whole new level of intrigue to the UFC by defeating the only champion the flyweight division had ever known.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.