Demetrious Johnson is the fastest fighter alive. He has used that speed, combined with technique that moves closer to flawless and coaching from Matt Hume that evolves towards the same, to be the unquestioned greatest fighter alive at 125 lbs.
John Dodson was no slouch either and may have been the only person who could match Johnson’s quickness. Before his knee injury, Dodson had reflexes second to
none and where Johnson may have had more speed and technique, what he didn’t have was Dodson’s pure, Hulk-like raw power. John Dodson hits so hard he could probably knock out people from 125-155 lbs. But he is no Demitrious Johnson and lost easily.
And as the old adage goes: speed kills. But in the case of Mighty Mouse, it isn’t just his opponents but rather his division and public interest. It’s counter-intuitive but Johnson is too good. He chains together techniques so quickly, with such precision, that instead of the audience being able to breath and appreciate what he just did, they’re left wondering what just happened.
In the span of a five minute round, Johnson may do as much as a heavyweight fight does in five rounds. But the heavyweights are easier to follow. The big punch lands and there is a pause, allowing drama to inherently build as the crowd’s collective imagination anticipates what’s to come. The Fighting Flash is the opposite: he does so much that the crowd can barely process half of what just happened – and are continually forced to play catch up with his skill.
It isn’t that fans don’t know he’s good: if it isn’t Joe Rogan telling them ten times a fight, they can surely appreciate the impressiveness of a man defending his world title over and over again, finishing one opponent after another. But the world doesn’t always pay for great, it pays for entertainment.
Transformers may be simple, stupid, mindless film making, but everyone watching knows what they’re seeing. They can shut off their brain and let the outside world fade for a bit. The entertainment provides the mental reprieve they need. While we all may know that a Meryl Streep picture is art at its highest level, with superb subtleties that bring to life inanimate words, we are also challenged to participate. For those willing, it is worth it. The experience is fuller, one’s life is better.
But most people’s lives are already filled from day to day. Work, spouse, kids, taxes, health care, mortgage, church, retirement fund, and so on. For the great masses, a challenging experience isn’t how they want to spend a Saturday night. They want three hours of fun, where they can have a drink or two, sit back, and scream every once in a while.
There is not fault here with Johnson. No fault with the UFC. No fault with fans watching. Everyone is acting and behaving as they should. Johnson cannot fight any differently. The UFC cannot force people to become more intellectually involved. People are not going to invest time when they know in another week or two there will be ten other fights that give them what they already want.
Demtrious Johnson is too good for anyone in the division and too fast for the division’s good.