Demetrious Johnson is still the Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight titleholder. After the UFC 174 main event on Saturday at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, he said, “I’m the king. I’ll stay the king as long as I can.”
Atlanta rapper T.I.’s fourth studio album was titled “King.” Since his reign as the world’s best flyweight and UFC 125-pound champion began, Johnson has used a track off T.I’s 2012 album, “Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head.” “Go Get It” is a nice but unspectacular walkout choice from Johnson. Since moving to a new weight class, the 27-year-old “Mighty Mouse” has gone from great bantamweight to the unchallenged flyweight ruler.
Through four UFC flyweight title defenses, Johnson has seen little trouble from any man the promotion has lined up across the cage from him. The latest fighter to challenge Johnson’s throne was Dagestani flyweight Ali Bagautinov. The 29-year-old Bagautinov came into the fight on an 11-fight winning streak and stepped to the cage to a rare and unrecognizable Russian nu-metal track.
When the cage door closed, the talent gap between champion and challenger quickly became apparent. On the feet, Johnson beat up Bagautinov from the outside and on the inside. In the clinch, Bagautinov’s grappling attempts were snuffed out by a series of violent knee strikes from the Washington-based fighter. In the championship rounds, Johnson continued to pick apart Bagautinov. All three judges scored the fight 50-45 for Johnson.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, but for Johnson, who utilizes slick footwork, one of the best clinches in the game and some high-level grappling, it is good to be king.
Meanwhile, Rory MacDonald is growing up. For years, MacDonald made attempts to bury his “Canadian Psycho” nickname by walking to the cage to the romantic tones of Rihanna’s “We Found Love.” At UFC 174, MacDonald did not need love; the 24-year-old Canadian wanted anger and heavy metal guitars. Though he did not go with 1980s or early 1990s Metallica, MacDonald’s choice of the 2003 song “St. Anger” from the heavy metal legends was a step in the right direction for a fighter in search of his walkout identity.
In the biggest fight of his UFC career, Tyron Woodley went with his walkout standby. “I Ain’t Turning Back” by rapper Thi’sl is about overcoming the odds and not giving up. Woodley wanted inspiration, and he was sure to find it with the 2009 song off the “Chronicles of An X-Hustler” album.
Fighting with precision and control, MacDonald beat Woodley bell to bell. MacDonald bullied Woodley against the fence for much of the fight and did not allow the former University of Missouri wrestler to put any of his offense in motion. After 15 minutes of action, MacDonald walked away with 30-27 scores across the board over a dejected Woodley. Whoever gave MacDonald a “Best of Metallica 2003-04” mixtape clearly had the UFC welterweight’s latest walkout in mind.
MMA walkout science dictated that if you picked a song from 1966, you would have your hand raised in victory at UFC 174.
When it comes to walkout songs, Ryan Bader has ditched the 1970s ode to “Star Wars” in favor of his love for the British Invasion of the 1960s. The number one single on The Rolling Stones’ fourth studio album, “Aftermath,” was “Paint It Black.” Darth Vader wore black; in 1966, the Stones sang about the color black; and Bader’s fight shorts were slightly black. The perfect storm of color helped Bader win his second fight in a row and take a unanimous decision over former Strikeforce champion Rafael Cavalcante.
Nicknamed “The Supernatural,” South Korean lightweight Tae Hyun Bang could have kicked his walkout game to the next level by riding to the cage on a horse, but his song selection was impeccable. “The Ecstasy of Gold” by Italian composer Ennio Morricone is one of the best instrumentals in movie history. Bang’s love for the 1966 film “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” was a perfect appetizer for fans of cowboys and KOs.
UFC 174 Walkout SongsDemetrious Johnson: T.I. “Go Get It” | Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head (2012)
Rory MacDonald: Metallica “St. Anger” | St. Anger (2003)
Tyron Woodley: Thi’sl feat. Flame “I Ain’t Turning Back” | Chronicles of An X-Hustler (2009)
Ryan Bader: Rolling Stones “Paint It Black” | Aftermath (1966)
Rafael Cavalcante: Linkin Park “In the End” | Hybrid Theory (2000)
Andrei Arlovski: Eminem “Solider” | The Eminem Show (2002)
Ovince St. Preux: Rick Ross “Hold Me Back” | God Forgives, I Don’t (2012)
Ryan Jimmo: The Animals “The House of the Rising Sun” | The Animals (1964)
Kiichi Kunimoto: 1773 “Heart Music” | AM7 (2010)
Daniel Sarafian: Eminem feat. Nate Dogg “Till I Collapse” | The Eminem Show (2002)
Yves Jabouin: Lloyd Banks “Start It Up” | H.F.M. 2 (2010)
Mike Easton: Maze and Frankie Beverly “Joy and Pain” | Joy and Pain (1980)
Tae Hyun Bang: Ennio Morricone “The Ecstasy of Gold” | The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Kajan Johnson: A Tribe Called Red “Electric Pow Wow Drum” | A Tribe Called Red (2012)
Roland Delorme: Army of the Pharaohs “Hollow Points” | The Unholy Terror (2010)
Jason Saggo: Carl Douglas “Kung Fu Fighting” | Kung Fu Fighting and Other Great Love Songs (1974)
Josh Shockley: The Avett Brothers “The Once and Future Carpenter” | The Carpenter (2012)
Brendan Schaub: Puff Daddy feat. The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes “Victory” | No Way Out (1997)
Tommy Messano is the editor-in-chief of ULTMMA.com. You can contact him on Twitter at @ULTMMA.