UFC great praised for act of 'pure class' after shock loss

UFC legend Demetrious Johnson stole the show after having his 13-fight win streak controversially ended, with an act of class that had fans in awe.

‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson and Henry Cejudo produced one of the great fights on Sunday (AEST) in the co-main event of UFC 227 at Staples Center.

In a high-level exhibition of mixed marital arts, Cejudo defeated the greatest fighter of all-time, winning a split decision to end Johnson’s long reign atop the flyweight division. Their battle was later named Fight of the Night.

Judges saw it 48-47 twice for Cejudo and 48-47 for Johnson, giving the 2008 Olympic gold medalist the victory by the narrowest of margins. The win by Cejudo ended Johnson’s reign atop the flyweight division after five years, 11 months and stopped his 13-fight winning streak.

Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson responded in the classiest way after losing to Henry Cejudo. Pic: UFC

Exulting in victory just 10 minutes from where he was born, an emotional Cejudo said afterward he wanted to fight for the bantamweight title next.

It was a brilliant performance by Cejudo, who was stopped in the first round when he first met Johnson at UFC 197.

After a loss to Joseph Benavidez that he believed he won, Cejudo defeated Wilson Reis and Sergio Pettis to earn another crack at the only champion the division had known.

However the majority of praise for the match was given to the fallen champion, ‘Mighty Mouse’, who responded to his shock loss with an act of ‘pure class’.

Henry Cejudo fights Demetrious Johnson during the UFC 227 flyweight title match at Staples Center (Getty Images)

While a majority of fighters in the UFC argue the scoring, and refuse to accept a tight loss such as this one, Johnson appeared completely content with the decision, even while his own fans blew up.

While Cejudo’s team erupted in jubilation upon hearing they’d won, Johnson genuinely applauded the new champion.

This classy act wasn’t missed by fight fans and expert, with dual UFC champion Daniel Cormier leading the charge, saying every UFC fighter could “learn from” the example set by Johnson.

Mighty Mouse was quick to thank Cormier for his kind words, as thousands of fans backed up the assertions of Cormier.

The bout was extraordinarily close and was probably determined by the judges’ view of Cejudo’s takedowns.

He took Johnson down five times in the bout and had his best sequence at the end of the fourth as he was landing some ground-and-pound on the elusive champion.

He didn’t do much damage, but the level of grappling was extraordinary from both men.

Both fighters felt the fight was on the line as the final round opened, and the crowd smelled an upset. It was roaring as the fifth began and Johnson opened it with a couple of kicks.

Demetrious Johnson and Henry Cejudo fight at UFC 227 (Getty Images)

Cejudo, though, had said prior to the fight that the only thing that had beaten him in the first fight with Johnson was his lack of experience, and he showed that on Saturday. When he needed it most, he was able to get some offence on Johnson as the fight went down the stretch.

The two stood toe-to-toe and exchanged in the final 15 seconds, each landing and each knowing the fight quite literally hung in the balance.

With Kevin Iole – Yahoo Sports