Reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson will go for his record-tying tenth title defense this weekend (Sat., April 15, 2016) when he takes on Wilson Reis in the main event of UFC on FOX 24 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Johnson has made a mockery of the 125-pound weight class, defeating everyone in his path en route to making history inside the Octagon.
But, his bank statements might not necessarily reflect his greatness.
While he isn’t exactly complaining about his pay (see it here), Johnson says he -- as well as the rest of the long-time defending champions — deserve a bit more money for successfully defending the belt repeatedly.
“I think once UFC shifts gears and starts paying the champions where it’s, ‘Hey you’re the champion you’ve defended your belt five times, we’re going to keep giving you extensive bonuses because we want to market a champion who stays a champion for a very, very long time and separate themselves from the class.’ If they put that person on that pedestal like this is an elite athlete,” Johnson said during a recent interview on The Fight Society podcast (via FOX Sports).
For Johnson, seeing other sports stars get their just due further fuels his desire to see UFC follow suit.
“You have guys like Usain Bolt, the track-and-field community [praises] him as basically a track God because he comes out there time after time, event after event, 100M dash, the 200M dash, the 1X1 400M relay, he continues to break records. Michael Phelps, he was a swimming God because he’s a champion in his own events.”
Indeed, there is no comparing the type of pay Conor McGregor — a man who has won two titles for the promotion but has yet to defend either one — to that of Johnson’s. And while “Mighty Mouse” understands it’s all a numbers game for the WME-IMG-owned promotion, he wants the company to pay him — and other champs like him — accordingly.
“For me, I’m a champion, I’m going on my tenth title defense, so they need to start compensating guys more that way for being a nine-time, 10-time, 11-time [champion] instead of just, ‘Hey you lost two fights ago, but we’re going to give you $10.6 million; however, it does make sense because [Conor] did bring in the numbers so it kind of goes hand-in-hand,” Johnson said.