LAS VEGAS — Demetrious Johnson is just making it look easy. Again.
The only flyweight champion in UFC history, Johnson (24-2-1) recorded his eighth title defense on Saturday by knocking out Henry Cejudo (10-1) at 2:49 of the first round. Referee John McCarthy stopped the fight after Cejudo fell to the floor and covered up from knees in the clinch.
The title defense moves Johnson within two of former middleweight champion Anderson Silva‘s UFC-record 10 consecutive title defenses. It also moves Johnson into fifth all-time in win streak with 10. It is the second-fastest defense of his career, 41 seconds shy of a knockout over Joseph Benavidez in 2013.
“There is no game plan,” Johnson said. “I come in here and just fight. My clinch is dangerous and I have the best trainers in the world. Once I spun him off-balance and threw that left knee to the liver, I said, ‘it’s over. I’m not backing up. It’s on.'”
Johnson, who fights out of Kirkland, Washington, also referred to himself as the sport’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter. ESPN.com had Johnson ranked exactly that coming into the weekend.
Cejudo, 29, has only been fighting professionally since 2013, but he was viewed as a potential threat to Johnson due to his achievements in wrestling alone. He holds the distinction of being the youngest American to ever win a gold medal in wrestling, which he did at 21 years old in 2008.
That wrestling background didn’t help Cejudo much on Saturday, however. The Arizona native scored one takedown, an inside leg trip that drew a response from the crowd, but Johnson quickly kicked him off and jumped back to his feet.
Johnson’s clinch has devastated several flyweights before and it did the same to Cejudo. Johnson caught him in the head with a left knee, and after Cejudo stumbled backwards, clearly hurt, Johnson pursued with a left hook and more knees to the body. Cejudo went down shortly thereafter.
It is the fifth knockout win of Johnson’s career. The 29-year-old has not suffered a loss since 2011, and that came in the bantamweight division, before the UFC opened a 125-pound weight class. He has recorded finishes in five of his eight title defenses.