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UFC 216: Demetrious Johnson’s ego won’t prompt bantamweight move ... fatter paychecks will

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has just about cleaned out the 125-pound division, defending his title 10 times since winning the title back in 2012. In fact, “Mighty Mouse” is the first and only man to ever hold the division strap, and is just one more win away from breaking the all-time title defense record (11) if he manages to defeat Ray Borg in the co-main event of UFC 216 this weekend (Sat., Oct. 7, 2017) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

After that, Johnson acknowledges there may be just a few more challenges at 125 pounds, but says a move up to Bantamweight isn’t out of the realm of possibility; however, it’s not something he’s planning at the moment. That said, should he go up to fight bigger men, Johnson says it won’t be just for the sake of stroking his ego but rather for the opportunity to collect bigger paychecks.

“For me, it’s not about going up,” Johnson said in an in-depth interview with “I don’t have an ego in trying to fight guys who are bigger than me. I’ve been there and done that, and obviously the only thing that makes me intrigued to go up a weight class is if the paycheck is gonna be nicer.”

Indeed, the possibility of fighting for the 135-pound title against either current champion Cody Garbrandt, T.J. Dillashaw or a rematch against Dominick Cruz, could lead to a big payout for all parties involved. First things first, however, as “Mighty Mouse” must get through “The Tazmexican Devil” to make history, which is far from an easy task.

“I think anybody I fought is the most dangerous guy I’ve ever fought, just because I’m the only champion ever to be in the flyweight division,” he said. “If anybody can beat me, then they just became the man who decapitated the king. So I know he’s hungry, I know he’s young, and I’ve never taken any fighter lightly and I don’t take my paycheck lightly, so I’m gonna go out there and it’s gonna be one of the best performances you’ve ever seen.”

Should he surpass Anderson Silva with the all time title defense record, then — and only then — will Johnson take the time to reflect on what he has accomplished.

“I think when it’s all over and done with, if I’m successful, then obviously that’s something nobody else has done,” Johnson said. “So I’ve got to do that first, and when I get back home with the family, sit down, crack open that beer, take a deep breath and say, ‘We done did it,’ that’s when I’ll realize that I’ve done something.”

Of course, Borg is looking to derail Johnson’s plans by winning his first-ever title on his own road to glory.

To learn more about the upcoming UFC 216 pay-per-view (PPV) event — which features a interim Lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee — click here.

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