Opinion: Demetrious Johnson must succeed at another weight class to cement greatness

He's the UFC's only flyweight champion

Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson needs to have a successful campaign at bantamweight if he is to be considered the greatest of all time.  

Johnson equaled Anderson Silva's record for 10 consecutive title defences at the weekend to remain the UFC's only flyweight champion and to solidify his claim as the current pound-for-pound king.

The diminutive American has dominated the 125 lbs divison since its inception in 2012 beating nearest challengers John Dodson and Joseph Benavidez twice each, as well as seeing off every other contender with relative ease.

His last loss came in 2011 against former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz at 135lbs and "Mighty Mouse" should look to avenge that loss and mount a campaign at bantamweight if he is be considered the greatest MMA fighter ever.

Anderson Silva dominated the middleweight division for years at roughly the same time as George St. Pierre was the long time welterweight champion and while Jon Jones ruled at light-heavyweight. Silva was ideally placed to suggest a super-fight against either but never pursued the options.

Anderson Silva in 2012. Picture by: IDE GOMES/DPA/PA Images

For their part, St. Pierre never looked to go up in weight as Jones never looked to go down. The lack of a champion-versus-champion fight in that era is a notable absence on their legacies. 

Only BJ Penn, Randy Couture and Conor McGregor have held championship titles in two divisions and arguably should all be ranked ahead of Johnson currently. Penn, the former lightweight champion, once took on former light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida! 

Penn has seen a serious downturn in results recently and has lost six of his last eight fights which include three defeats against Frankie Edgar as well as losses to the much larger Rory MacDonald and Nick Diaz. 

Johnson's career can't be judged in totality yet as he's still an active competitor so the next couple of years will decide where he truly ranks in the MMA annals.

Speaking on the MMAHour earlier this week, he dismissed a possible clash with UFC bantamweight champion next suggesting he intends to break Silva's record, saying: "People say I need to go up and do this, do that. Why not be the greatest ever? UFC went out and signed a whole bunch of great new flyweight talent and I would not mind putting my name against their’s and giving them a loss.”

The obvious choice would be to attempt to break the consecutive defences record and then arrange a one-off super-fight with Garbrandt. The result of that duel could then shape Johnson's remaining fights. A rematch with Cruz and a victory there will also be required if he is to seperate himself from everyone else. 

Until then, the debate remains open.