The bad blood between UFC and flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson continues to build. UFC president Dana White has professed his confusion as to why Johnson will not defend his title against former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, while Johnson revealed troubling details earlier this month that the promotion is “bullying” him into the matchup. It was only a matter of time before White responded to the allegations and shed some light on the growing feud between UFC and the only 125-pound champion the promotion has ever had.
White offered details on a variety of topics regarding Johnson during a recent interview with TMZ Sports (shown above).
Johnson’s UFC contract and pay-per-view deals:
"He didn't want Pay-Per-View. He wanted upfront money, no Pay-Per-View. He wasn't very confident in his abilities to sell Pay-Per-Views. He has the lowest-selling Pay-Per-View in the history of the UFC in the modern era."
Johnson’s fighting future:
"I think a fight between him and T.J. Dillashaw would be something that people would actually be interested in and could sell Pay-Per-Views and could make money. But he absolutely refuses to fight the guy. It's ridiculous."
UFC’s attempt to market Johnson:
"We're not marketing him right? We built a TV show around him. 'The Ultimate Fighter' was about what an incredible fighter he is. We put him on FOX many times and tried to build him and it is what it is. It's not me."
Johnson’s spot in the sport:
"The media claims he's the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. I think Conor McGregor is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. If you look at what that really means, what pound-for-pound means, and Conor doesn’t give a sh*t, he’ll fight anybody, anywhere, anytime. And if Demetrious is the pound-for-pound best guy in the world, then fight T.J. Dillashaw. Fight somebody that people will actually care about and be interested in, and there you go."
Ouch. White isn’t holding back at all here. The promotion obviously wants to book Johnson vs. Dillashaw as “Mighty Mouse” attempts to become the only fighter ever to defend a title 11 consecutive times, but things aren’t going as planned. Johnson is one of the last fighters that would step inside of the cage because someone is making him do it, so this could be a drawn out soap opera heading into the second half of 2017.
White’s claim that Conor McGregor is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, not Johnson, is completely subjective. Why wouldn’t the UFC president stick by “Notorious” as he gears up for a potential showdown with boxer Floyd Mayweather?
But when you really break it down, 10-straight title defenses probably surpasses winning two championships in two separate divisions with no defenses at all. Right?