It’s a new year, so Combat Press is taking a look back at the best of MMA in 2017. Throughout the next few weeks, Combat Press will announce its award winners in multiple categories, covering everything from the action in the cage to the biggest stories surrounding the sport.
2017 really was a mighty year for Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
Is there really anything this man cannot do? Mighty Mouse has been fighting as the UFC flyweight champion since 2012, and with each fight, he finds new and exciting ways to win. He holds multiple records, including one that can only be tied but never broken: the bout in which he submitted current Rizin bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi with just one second remaining in the fifth round. Mighty Mouse went on to cruise past John Dodson in their rematch, crush Henry Cejudo in the first round, have an exciting bout with Tim Elliott. All of that happened in just two years.
2017 proved to be one for the record books. In April, Johnson defended his UFC title for the 10th time when he submitted Wilson Reis in the third round. The man only needed one more to break the seemingly unbreakable record. That chance came for him at UFC 216 against the “Tazmexican Devil” himself, Ray Borg.
Johnson put on yet another impressive performance and seemed to be cruising his way to a clear-cut decision. But that wasn’t good enough for Johnson. Instead, in what can only be described as one of the most beautiful maneuvers ever displayed inside the Octagon, Johnson suplexed Borg and transitioned into an armbar before Borg even hit the ground. The challenger put up a valiant effort, but he was forced to tap. Johnson wasn’t going to settle for just another win. He wanted something more memorable than simply another title defense, and he did not disappoint. His work of art was the clear selection for the Combat Press “Submission of the Year.”
Fun fact: Johnson now has three fifth-round finishes in title fights. That’s another record that will be incredibly difficult to top.
Other finalists: Oleksei Oleinik’s Ezekiel choke of Viktor Pesta (UFC Fight Night 103), Brian Ortega’s guillotine choke of Cub Swanson (UFC Fight Night 123)
Make sure you check out the rest of the Combat Press 2017 MMA Award winners.