The final nine seconds of the main event of UFC 186 on Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal was all that was needed to define the brilliance of Demetrious Johnson.
Johnson had his fight with Kyoji Horiguchi well in hand, and clearly was going to rack up his sixth consecutive successful flyweight title defense in the main event of UFC 186 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Johnson once again showed his amazing all-around ability. He's exceptionally fast, but there isn't one other trait that makes him feared. He's not the hardest hitter. He doesn't have the best submissions. He's not the greatest wrestler.
Not only are there few fighters whose technique is as good as Johnson's, but there are even fewer who improve fight-to-fight the way Johnson does.
And with 10 seconds left Saturday, he had Horiguchi in a crucifix. Johnson could have held him there and would have gone on to take a wide unanimous decision victory. That, though, wasn't good enough for Johnson.
As trainer Matt Hume was screaming for the arm bar, Johnson transitioned out of the crucifix, slid across Horiguchi's body and yanked on his arm. The tap came after 24 minutes and 59 seconds of competition, the latest possible in a UFC bout, and helped Johnson retain his belt.
"I was being lazy and I heard Matt yelling, 'Arm bar! Arm bar!' " Johnson said. "I said, 'Oh, man, I better do what he says.' I didn't want to get yelled at."
There was little to yell at him about. Johnson displayed the entire game, as well as magnificent conditioning. He was going as hard in the final minute as he was in the first, and he eventually wore Horiguchi down.
Horiguchi fought gamely and landed several good shots, but he didn't have near enough weapons to seriously challenge Johnson.
The win was Johnson's eighth in a row and was his sixth consecutive successful title defense, moving him into fifth place in UFC history.
He put his name into the books forever with the last-second submission, a mark that could be matched but never broken. Frankie Edgar held the previous mark for latest submission when he forced Cub Swanson to tap from a rear naked choke at 4:56 of the fifth round of a featherweight bout last year in Austin, Texas.
Johnson is extremely well coached and he follows Hume's instructions to the letter. And though 99.99 percent of the fighters in his position would have coasted out the final 10 seconds, Johnson isn't one of them.
"That's what we worked on in training camp: Hold him down, pass guard and submit him," Johnson said. "It took a long time, but we got it done. It's very satisfying. I wish I'd done it a lot sooner. The fight would have been over a lot quicker. "
Johnson is deserving of a mega-fight and could get one later this year. The only fighter in the division with the kind of speed and athletic ability he has is John Dodson, whom he beat by unanimous decision in a close fight in 2013 in Chicago. But Dodson is a freakishly good athlete and if he gets past Zach Makovsky next month at UFC 187 in Las Vegas, he may get a rematch against Johnson.
That could be a significant fight because of the talent of the two, but the burden will be on Dodson if the fight happens to prove he's covered enough ground. Johnson clearly is separating himself from the pack.
He's a small man with big talent, and as he proved on Saturday, he's dangerous every second of the 25 minutes he's in the cage.