No matter who he beats, Demetrious Johnson just can't win, says Dana White. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
As soon as it was announced that Chris Cariaso was going to be the next man to challenge Demetrious Johnson for the UFC flyweight crown, the critics came out in full force.
After all, while Cariaso is the owner a three-fight winning streak, his opponents during that time -- Iliarde Santos, Danny Martinez and Louis Smolka -- have a combined 1-6 record in the Octagon. That’s hardly the stuff of a traditional No. 1 contender.
Even though he has claimed to be someone who does not read the Internet, UFC President Dana White is not oblivious to the MMA community’s concerns. In his mind, it’s a no-win situation.
“The problem is that there is no doubt the fight everybody wanted to see would be John Dodson, but he's hurt,” White recently told UFC.com . “Ian McCall just fought, Johnson knocked out [Joseph] Benavidez, and he beat John Moraga. People are going to b---h about Demetrious Johnson no matter who we put him in there against. Eventually, he’ll just have to keep knocking people out left and right, and then he’ll earn his respect.”
Dodson conceivably staked his claim to the No. 1 contender spot with a stoppage of Moraga on June 7, but the Jackson-Wink MMA standout recently revealed that ACL surgery will shelve him until 2015. As one of the UFC’s newest divisions, flyweight does not have the depth of some of its counterparts.
As it stands, Johnson has already defeated Dodson, Benavidez, Moraga, McCall and Ali Bagautinov -- five of the division’s top 10, according to Sherdog.com’s rankings. Cariaso, meanwhile, is 4-2 overall at 125 pounds, with his two losses coming against Moraga and Jussier da Silva.
UFC 177 takes place at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., and is headlined by a bantamweight title rematch between T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao. Johnson-Cariaso is slated for the co-main event.