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Demetrious Johnson doesn’t mind getting UFC title stripped, wants T.J. Dillashaw on ‘stacked card’

UFC 216: Johnson v Borg Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Now that UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has undergone successful shoulder surgery, he’s looking to return to action against bantamweight titleholder T.J. Dillashaw sometime this summer in a highly-anticipated superfight.

The only problem is that “Mighty Mouse” wants that bout with Dillashaw to take place on a “stacked card.” The promotion would be foolish not to put the champion vs. champion showdown on a high-profile card, but you never really know what you’re going to get with injuries and scheduling conflicts.

“That’s what the UFC wants,” Johnson said during a recent interview with ESPN. “It’s the superfight everyone wants. I think TJ and I are both on board. We just want to make sure it’s on a stacked card. We want to make sure we can benefit from a good pay-per-view buy. I think I deserve it, and I think he deserves it.”

As far as headlining the “stacked card,” Johnson understands that his superfight opposite Dillashaw would be better off as a main event appetizer. After all, “Mighty Mouse” has struggled to bring in big pay-per-view (PPV) numbers in the past, while other UFC stars could produce a lot better results.

“I’d rather have somebody else [be the] main event, who is going to bring in way more PPVs,” Johnson said. “In my opinion, that’s held up the fight on my end.

”I’ve seen guys jump on [stacked] PPV cards and make $1.5 million, fighting an inferior opponent than who I’m about to fight. Me and TJ could fight on a smaller card and pull 275,000 buys, get an extra check for $75,000. My management told me, ‘You know what, we’ll hold out for a big event.’

”A lot of media and fans think that’s a way of turning down fights or ducking someone, but that’s a way of being a smart businessman and getting the most money you can get. ... I’ll wait for that opportunity, because in that one card, I’ll basically make more money than three fights -- a year and a half of my life -- [combined].”

In a prefect world, “Mighty Mouse” would see his flyweight championship defense against Dillashaw take place on a card with multiple title fights.

“If we can get three title fights -- a champions vs. champions edition -- that should do well,” Johnson said. “If they did Georges St-Pierre vs. Tyron Woodley, Amanda Nunes vs. Cyborg [Cris Justino] and me vs. TJ, they can send me the contract. They can negotiate that contract now.”

Johnson, 31, is coming off his record-setting 11th consecutive flyweight title defense with a fifth-round submission win over Ray Borg at UFC 216. The pound-for-pound greatest fighter on the planet has been destroying the competition for years now and feels like now is his time to drive a hard bargain, lean on his past accomplishments, and get the money he feels he has earned.

“I’m straightforward,” Johnson said. “If UFC comes back and says, ‘You know what, Demetrious, we’re not going to give you that,’ I’ll say, ‘Perfect, send me the No. 1 contender in the flyweight division and TJ can stay up and fight whoever he wants.’ That’s how I am when it comes to this.

”I’m not going to sit here and f---ing argue. ‘This is what I want. If you’re not going to give it to me, that’s fine. I’ll just keep fighting guys in my division. You want to strip me? Fine, perfect. Strip me. I’ll work my way back up the ladder.’

”I’ve beat everyone in my division. Now I’m waiting for my opportunity to be on the kind of card that makes that kind of money. And I’m not trying to piggyback off anyone else. I feel I bring a lot to the table -- 11 title defenses. I should get that opportunity. If people disagree, that’s their problem. That’s what I feel I am worth.”

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