While The Ultimate Fighter 24 will crown a challenger for the UFC Flyweight Champion, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson won’t be waiting until December to defend that belt.
It was announced on Wednesday’s UFC Tonight program on Fox Sports 1 that Johnson will be back in action on July 30, defending his belt against Wilson Reis in the co-main event of UFC 201 in Atlanta, Ga.
Johnson, the only champion the UFC’s flyweight division has had since its inception in 2012, has won ten straight fights, making eight straight title defenses in the process. He’s targeting Anderson Silva’s record of ten successful title defenses in a row after his April win over Henry Cejudo, and this fight allows him to move one step closer to that mark after signing a new eight-fight deal with the organization this week.
31-year-old Brazilian Reis is just 4-2 in the UFC, and is ranked No. 8 in the division. He suffered a decision loss to Jussier Formiga just two fights ago, but bounced back with a win over Dustin Ortiz in January. However, while there are a number of names ahead of him in the rankings, only Formiga and Zach Makovsky have yet to get a crack at “Mighty Mouse.”
Two other past challengers, Joseph Benavidez and the aforementioned Cejudo, will coach the TUF 24 flyweights this summer for the fall series, and will square off themselves at the December finale event.
UFC 201 is the organization’s first event in Atlanta in over four and a half years, and will be headlined by a Welterweight Championship fight between Robbie Lawler and Tyron Woodley.
Penick’s Analysis: I understand the fight in terms of keeping Johnson busy, but Reis is one of the least deserving title challengers in years in the UFC. It’s a sign of how bad the flyweight division is right that the man who got beat by the man who got beat by Johnson’s most recently dispatched foe is getting the next title shot. Still, Reis will be a body and a payday to keep Johnson sharp on his way to facing the TUF winner in December.
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