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Demetrious Johnson: TJ Dillashaw not on my level in pound-for-pound conversation

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UFC 217: Garbrandt v Dillashaw Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting championship (UFC) Flyweight champions has had a firm grasp on the No. 1 pound-for-pound ranking for quite some time thanks to his terrorizing reign over the division, which includes 11 straight title defenses.

And as a potential super fight between he and UFC Bantamweight king T.J. Dillashaw gets closer to becoming a reality, “Mighty Mouse” doesn’t even want to hear about “Viper” being close to him in the P4P discussion.

“I think the reason I’m the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world is I beat everyone in my division,” Johnson told ESPN. “He’s had close fights with guys in his division, like Raphael Assuncao. Dominick Cruz beat him. His last fight, against Cody [Garbrandt], he got dropped,” he added.

As it stands, Dillashaw is ranked No. 7 on the list.

”It’s a little different, especially when you’re talking about a bigger guy going down to fight a smaller guy. I think the reason people put that label on me is I’ve beaten every single type of style and skill set that’s come to me. I beat John Dodson twice -- TJ lost to Dodson,” said Johnson.

T.J. has been pining for a shot at Johnson’s title after he reclaimed his 135-pound strap by knocking out Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217. If the fight comes to be — which Johnson is very interested in — and if T.J. scores a win, Johnson says no way he should he be considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Because at the end of the day, it’s all about longevity, says Johnson.

“If he were to beat me, and everyone would say, ‘Oh, he’s the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world!’ and the next thing you know, he gets knocked out in a bantamweight fight, I would say that ‘reign’ would be cheap. It’s not warranted,“ he added.

”The reason I have that label is my longevity as a champion and dominating higher competition. His fight against Cody wasn’t a blowout, they exchanged and his punch landed. It wasn’t like he dominated him in wrestling or jiu-jitsu. That’s my personal opinion.”

Indeed, Johnson — who hasn’t tasted defeat since 2011 in a 135-pound scrap against Dominick Cruz — has had his way with the 125-pound weight class and has made it look effortlessly.

Should he beat the current champion in a weight class above, then his lead in the pound-for-pound race extends even further.