Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is adamant he isn’t too interested in fighting T.J. Dillashaw for his record-breaking eleventh straight title defense. And after “Mighty Mouse” aired his beef with UFC — much to the chagrin of some — that fight is less likely to happen anytime soon. For Johnson, his beef wasn’t so much with pay as it was with having to fight someone who isn’t even a true 125-pound fighter and is basically being forced to take the fight ... or else.
In the past, however, “Mighty Mouse” has been very vocal about wanting more pay. And to hear UFC Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier tell it, all of the drama surrounding UFC and Demetrious would likely disappear if the promotion would just show him the money — $1 million to be exact. Indeed, “DC” says if anyone deserves to get paid that amount, it’s the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
“UFC, if you want Demetrious Johnson to fight T.J. Dillashaw, give him the money,” Cormier recently said on ‘UFC Tonight.’ “Pay him $1 million and say, ‘that’s your fight.’ I know it’s a lot for a 125-pounder, but the guy’s the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Pay him the money, and then let him go fight.... Pay him as the No. 1 fighter in the world for once.”
Company President Dana White has been very vocal about the smaller weight classes’ inability to sell at the box office, while Johnson points to the fact that the promotion has failed to do its part to market him as champion.
Cormier feels it’s a mixture of both, but says UFC’s marketing machine has yet to find a way to get crafty with its efforts to sell “Mighty Mouse.”
“I think the responsibility for everything can be shared between Demetrious and the UFC,” Cormier said. “UFC really doesn’t understand how to market him, because they have to get creative. He’s smaller. He’s not the biggest guy. He’s dominant. Even when Anderson Silva was the guy running through his division, his points weren’t very high, so they have to get creative. I don’t know if they’ve gotten creative. But, I do believe DJ has done his part.
“Honestly as an African-American, you have to market people differently,” Cormier added. “There is a different demographic and I don’t know if DJ really fits neatly into any certain one. Because just his family and everything, everything combined, you gotta get tricky marketing these small guys, especially an African-American guy. So the UFC doesn’t really know how to do that yet with him.”
For his part, Dillashaw is already training and cutting down to hit the 125-pound mark, all while trashing on “DJ’s” name to hype the potential fight a bit more.
“Mighty Mouse,” though, hasn’t taken the bait as he refuses to get involved in a war of words with someone who has yet to win a fight in the division he’s dominated since 2013 to the tune of 10 straight title defenses.