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Can you knee a downed opponent in UFC after Demetrious Johnson’s shock loss?

Demetrious Johnson lost to Adriano Moraes after a knee and many are asking if UFC stars can knee a downed opponent

Demetrious Johnson is one of the greatest MMA talents of all-time. DJ has won titles in UFC and ONE and was looking to become a two-time ONE Flyweight champion.

The 35-year-old came into this clash on a three-fight win streak and he was undefeated in his new promotion.

Demetrious Johnson (L) during a UFC fight (Image credit: Getty)

However, there was a shock result as DJ was knocked out thanks to a knee when he was down. This was Johnson’s first ever KO in his career and his current record stands at 30-4-1.

Moraes was shocked to become the champion but DJ was magnanimous in defeat and also congratulated his rival.

However, this was a dangerous move considering that DJ was downed. Many UFC fans were having one question on their mind – can you knee a downed opponent?

The UFC and ONE might be two of the biggest promotions in the world but there is one major rule change that the promotions have.

ONE allows fighters to knee downed opponents

A downed opponent is basically someone who has more than their soles on the floor. That includes knees, the back or any other body part.

ONE uses the Global Martial Arts Rule Set For Competition which is different from the Unified Rules that the UFC applies.

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This means that grounded opponents can be kicked or kneed in ONE, something that happened to DJ.

Ariel Helwani was quick to confirm the legitimacy of the knee strike in ONE but this is not allowed in the UFC.

“Finish of the DJ fight. Brutal knee. And yes, that knee is legal in ONE but not in the US when abiding by the Unified Rules.”

Ben Askren, who has fought in the UFC and ONE, claimed that this is the best rule that his former promotion has.

However, one man on the end of such a knee is current UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling.

He was hit with such a knee by former champion Petr Yan which led to a disqualification in the title fight.

Aljamain Sterling reacts after winning the title at UFC 259 (UFC)

There was some confusion as to why Yan hit the knee, but the rules are clear. Such knee strikes to downed opponents is banned in the UFC.

Sterling shared his thoughts on the situation and added that he didn’t want such strikes in MMA.

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Saiyed Adeem Karim

Ditching a corporate job to follow a dream isn't easy, but when football comes calling, who can say no? Been following the beautiful game since 1998. Liverpool addict, F1 fanatic!

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Saiyed Adeem Karim