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Demetrious Johnson not sold on UFC champ Deiveson Figueiredo: ‘Time will tell if the hype is real’

Demetrious Johnson needs to see more out of Deiveson Figueiredo before he’s convinced of the UFC champ’s greatness.

Johnson (30-3-1), the inaugural UFC flyweight champion who defended the belt a record 11 times, is now a ONE Championship fighter and is able to give an outside perspective of the UFC’s 125-pound division.

There’s been some solid performances out of the Brazilian, Johnson said, and Figueiredo (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) will look to make his second title defense when he meets Brandon Moreno in Saturday’s UFC 256 headline in Las Vegas. A win would strengthen the champion’s resume, but Johnson’s still not sold.

“Only time will tell if the hype is real,” Johnson said of Figueiredo. “Do I think he’s a good athlete? 1,000 percent. But I need to see him fight more different styles and different athletes and the caliber of different guys. Then that’s when he’ll live up to the hype. A guy like Jon Jones, he’s beat (expletive) everybody, even on cocaine and testing positive and whatever. He still beat you.”

Johnson said his desire for Figueiredo is to have him share the octagon with a proven, championship-level fighter. His two wipeout performances over Joseph Benavidez have been his signature wins thus far, but “Mighty Mouse’ offered a reminded he’s beat Benavidez on multiple occasions, too.

In order to reach the next level, Johnson said Figueiredo needs to face a proven commodity, and in his mind that would be ex-champ Henry Cejudo.

“I would like to see him fight a Henry Cejudo or see him fight someone who is game and is able to win,” Johnson said. “Alex Perez got caught in that choke, he just stood up. He should’ve hand fight, do the correct things to get out of it. That’s the thing: Only time will tell. Only time’s going to tell. When I fought Joseph Benavidez the first time, I beat him up. Then we fought the second time and I knocked him out.”

Although it sounds like Johnson is being harsh on Figueiredo, he said he’s not. He thinks the current flyweight king is an amazing talent, but the road to being considered the greatest is a long way, and Johnson still things there’s a lot of ground to cover.

“Deiveson Figueiredo is a great athlete, he hits hard, has a good chin and he’s well rounded. People who usually hit hard can’t really grapple, but he can do it all.”

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