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Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson Remains Champion At UFC 178

October 16, 2014

The UFC's first and only flyweight champion Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson defeated Chris Cariaso for his fifth straight title defense in the main event of UFC 178.

Johnson -- ranked the UFC's third best pound-for-pound fighter -- was the heavy favorite going into the fight Sept. 27 and did not disappoint. He overwhelmed Cariaso from the start, quickly scoring a takedown inside the first minute of round one. He scored a second takedown in the early moments of the second round as well, but this time followed it with a jiu-jitsu display that started with an arm bar and finished with a fight-ending kimura submission at the 2:29 mark.

"It was a good night," Johnson told the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas during his post-fight interview. "[Becoming the best fighter in the world] is the goal I'm working toward."

Johnson, 21-2-1, has won seven of his last eight fights. His current seven-fight winning streak is the longest active streak in the UFC's flyweight division. His five straight title defenses rank third among current UFC titleholders, behind UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo (six) and UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones (seven).

Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone also notched a victory at UFC 178 in the event's co-main event with a unanimous decision against UFC newcomer Eddie Alvarez. 

Cerrone got off to a slow start in round one against the former Bellator Lightweight Champion, but was able to pick up the pace as the fight progressed. While Alvarez was aggressive throughout the match, Cerrone managed to keep the fight upright with stellar takedown defense. He won the decision with solid standup in the final two rounds, as all three the judges scored the fight 29-28 in favor of "Cowboy."

"I apologize for coming out slow; I've been trying to get over that," Cerrone said playfully during his post-fight interview. "I can't figure it out. I'm cursed. So, if you're going to beat me, try to get me in the first." 

With the victory, Cerrone, 25-6-0, became the second UFC fighter to win four bouts in 2014. He is currently the No. 5-ranked lightweight in the UFC and is a strong candidate for a title shot against the winner of Anthony Pettis versus Gilbert Melendez set for Dec. 6.

While Johnson and Cerrone were big winners in the main events of UFC 178, performance of the night honors belonged to featherweight Conor McGregor and bantamweight Dominick Cruz, who both knocked out their opponents inside two minutes of the first round.

McGregor, 16-2-0, defeated Dustin Poirier with a swift left hand at the 1:46 mark in round one -- an outcome the Ireland-born fighter boisterously predicted prior to the fight.

"I don't just knock them out, I pick the round," McGregor told UFC commentator Joe Rogan during his post-fight interview in the octagon. "These featherweights just don't understand, until you get hit by me. It's a whole other ballgame. I said I'd knock him out in the first round, and I knocked him out in the first round. You can call me 'Mystic Mike' because I predict these things."

McGregor is 4-0 since making his UFC debut in April 2013. Three of his four victories have come by way of knockout inside one round. 

Cruz, 20-1-0, was stripped of the UFC Bantamweight title earlier due to a long injury layoff, but looked strong in his return to the octagon with a TKO victory against Takeya Mizugaki just 61 seconds into the contest. The fight was Cruz's first since defeating Johnson in a lightweight title bout Oct. 1, 2011.

"I always knew I was going to make it back because it was in my heart," Cruz said in his post-fight interview. "Nothing has changed. I just look forward to beating more alpha-fails."

Other UFC 178 winners included: Yoel Ramero, Cat Zingano, Jorge Masvidal, Stephen Thompson, Brian Ebersole, Kevin Lee and Manvel Gamburyan.

UFC 178, originally scheduled to feature the rematch between Alexander Gustafsson and UFC light-heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, drew an attendance of 10,544 and $2.2 million at the gate. While there is no timetable for Gustafsson's return to the octagon -- as injury kept him out of UFC 178 -- Jones will take on No. 2-ranked light-heavyweight Chris Cormier at UFC 182 Jan. 3, 2015.

Issue 202: October 2014