Smiling and ready to go to work; Demetrious Johnson is energized and commands your attention. In fact, he's probably the loudest guy in the room.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight titleholder and pound-for-pound star is a magnet, contrary to what you might read online.
"Mighty Mouse" can't get out the words fast enough, a majority of them curse words, as we -- the media -- jog around the Octagon set up inside of the UFC Gym in the SOHO neighborhood of New York City. Later on, Johnson polls us on what aspects of mixed martial arts (MMA) we're curious to learn about and leads us onto our practice session.
The 29-year-old glides through takedowns, kicks and triangle choke submissions with ease. Of course, for most of us that were in attendance, notching a takedown or cinching up a submission properly was foreign, but not to Johnson.
The AMC Pankration fighter is head and shoulders above all his peers in the 125-pound division. Not one man, except for maybe his most recent UFC 191 opponent -- two-time title challenger John Dodson -- has come close to dethroning Johnson.
He's going on his eighth title defense, having dispatched fighters such as Dodson (twice), Joseph Benavidez (twice), Kyoji Horiguchi and John Moraga, among others. Still, there's something absent from Johnson's repertoire and it has nothing to do with his in-ring capabilities.
Johnson's speed has virtually went unmatched over the course of his UFC career. His speed and wrestling have left many in awe, but it's his boxing and jiu-jitsu prowess that have made quite the impression on the MMA universe.
With as skilled of a background in MMA as Johnson has, it's hard to imagine anyone being unhappy with the effort he puts forth in the Octagon, but as it turns out, it's not the way he fights, but how he conducts himself in the events prior that fans find, well, boring.
For a large portion of his UFC career, Johnson has heard the grumblings from fans and pundits regarding his personality, which more or less is evident in the buyrates of cards he headlines.
"I think DJ is doing everything he can. I think he's doing a good job at it -- you're finally starting to see him speak his mind a little bit better in interviews and on TV," former foe and one-time UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz said earlier this month. "He's saying it how it is instead of trying to say what he thinks people want to here. More than anything, Demetrious just speaks with his performances."
Johnson's fourth title defense against the well-rounded Dagestani Ali Bagautinov at UFC 174 in June 2014 barely scraped 100,000 pay-per-view (PPV) buys and despite numerous attempts by his former nemesis Dodson to bait him into pre-fight arguments, he's remained even-keeled throughout the lead-up to their past fights at UFC on FOX 6 and UFC 191.
When it comes to his approach to the fight game, Johnson told MMAmania.com he simply likes to handle his business.
"One of the things I tell people is that when it comes to fighting and it's fight week, I'm there for one purpose and that's the fight and get the hell out of dodge. A lot of people misunderstood me, when it's fight time - people will go like, ‘man, you should fight in Japan.' You're not going to like me when I fight in Japan because number one; I don't want to talk to you; number two, I'm dieting and I'm not having the calories in my body. I'm not here for you, I'm here to fight. I'm here to fight for your entertainment, but I'm not here to take you out to lunch and hold your hand. I'll sign autographs, I don't mind doing it but I'm not going to be happy because I'm focused on fighting. A lot of people might see that as boring or I'm not a character, but when you're at work ... let me come to your fucking job and go, ‘hey, hey buddy. How're you doing? Can you sign this for me?' I'm like dude, ‘you're fucking breaking my concentration.' That's how I see things."
Throw MMA aside and Johnson is a fun-loving family man. He and his wife, Destiny, welcomed their first child, Tyren, into the world in July 2013, just days before his second title defense against Moraga.
That's all the motivation a man like Johnson needs, who is all but three successful title defenses away from tying Anderson Silva with 10 for the most in UFC history.
"My wife's like, ‘how're you motivated?' This is how I make my fucking money and pay my bills," said Johnson.
Retirement is a long way's away, but he has thought about what his life might look like on the other side. When it's finally time for Johnson to hang up the five ounce gloves, he was thinking along the lines of becoming a personal trainer.
With a fighter that possesses the personality that he has, it would seem like a natural fit, but then again, not everyone you come into contact with will want your help and Johnson feels, "there's no point in helping you if you don't have the motivation."
As he puts it, "I have a very short temper. That's how I think."
Rather than fight on emotion in the Octagon, Johnson is a calculated force. He won't fight reckless, or overextend himself.
Johnson is a tactician in every sense of the word; his last-second armbar submission of "Supernova" last April at UFC 186 was breathtaking.
As quickly as he came into this sport, Johnson has cleaned out his division.
The rumors of moving up or down a weight class always flare up once a fighter of Johnson's caliber has won as many consecutive bouts he has, but there are multiple challenges waiting in the wings.
There's the winner of the upcoming Jussier Formiga vs. Henry Cejudo exchange taking place on Nov. 21, 2015, at UFC Fight Night 78, as well as Benavidez, who has now won four straight.
Either fighter from the trio is a difficult obstacle and they each carry a unique style with them.
Cejudo is a fantastic, Olympic-level wrestler with steadily improving hands. Formiga is a sniper on the ground with excellent submission skills, while "Joe-Jitsu" represents the very best at 125 pounds (besides the champion).
However, they're not reigning bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw.
Dillashaw is now two title defenses into his tenure on top and he will soon be readying himself for a tough test when he faces former 135-pound champion Dominick Cruz at UFC Fight Night 81 on Jan. 17, 2016.
That doesn't mean Johnson can't dream of a potential big-money tussle with "Killashaw."
"Me and T.J. were texting already today and me and him are cool. It's not like we have beef against each other. If the numbers are right and financially it makes business sense then I'll do it, but right now I'm fixated on that record, which is 10," Johnson emphasized. "As I get closer to the number 10 I'm like holy shit, I can probably beat it regardless if I have to fight Joseph [Benavidez] again or whoever they put in line."
Stay tuned for my full Q&A with Johnson on MMAmania.com.