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Demetrious Johnson: North American fight fans just want ‘drama and disrespect’

Demetrious Johnson explains the differences between North American fight fans and their Asian contemporaries.

Demetrious Johnson is building a fan base of Asian fight fans and gamers, and it is safe to say he does not miss the North American audience.

Johnson is an avid gamer. He had those eye-grabbing Xbox-sponsored shorts in the pre-Reebok days and his “Mighty Gaming” YouTube channel has nearly 75,000 subscribers. During a one-on-one with MMA Mania, “Mighty Mouse” was asked whether the UFC did not market him or mis-marketed him.

“I don’t know,” he said. “At the end of the day, I think I did the best to my ability to go out there and perform and be outspoken about who I am and not change my character. It’s up to the company to find the right niche to market me. I think ONE Championship has done a great job. Obviously, with ONE Championship launching a new e-sports division, me being a big fan of MMA and video games....

“Obviously, the audience is totally different than the North American audience,” he added. “The North American audience wants drama and disrespect. They want somebody to go on Twitter or Instagram [and] yapping back-and-forth with each other. Over in Asia that doesn’t fly. They’re not looking to support punks and people who are bashing each other or cutting fighters down. It’s two different types of entities.”

Johnson (30-3-1) cemented his place as the greatest UFC flyweight of all-time before making a lucrative jump to ONE Championship in Oct. 2018. Having experienced both championship glory in the UFC and financial success outside of the UFC, DJ shared some business advice for up-and-coming fighters.

“Any athlete who is hoping to become a champion thinking it will take care of them financially has the wrong mindset, to be honest with you,” he stated. “I think the biggest thing I learned from being a professional athlete or a champion is to create multiple streams of income. And obviously save your money. I think that’s the right mindset to have. Build your brand. And I’m still building my brand. My ‘Mighty Gaming’ streaming brand. I’m about to launch a new product very soon, which is separate to ONE Championship or what I’ve done in America.

“Athletes need to focus on building their brand,” he continued. “Look at a guy like ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley. He’s building his brand. He’s got great swag, he’s very big on marijuana. He’s like, ‘I’ll light you up and smoke a dooby too.’ Conor McGregor built a brand. Ronda Rousey built a brand. For me, building my brand in the gaming world.”

Johnson is scheduled to fight Adriano Moraes for the ONE flyweight title on May 29 at Infinity 1; however, “Migthy Mouse” is doubtful the fight will materialize.

“As far as I know it still is, but with what’s going on in the world today and don’t even know if I can get a ticket to go to Manila,” Johnson said. “If I’m hearing that we’re having a hard time testing [in the U.S.], I can only imagine what is going on in places like Manila or Jakarta or Indonesia. We have no idea. As of right now, the fight is scheduled to go on but my gut tells me that fight is not happening on May 29.”

Also, because this author is an idiot, here is Johnson’s official ranking of four famous mouses (and one cartoon rat).

  1. Mickey Mouse
  2. Mighty Mouse
  3. Speedy Gonzalez
  4. Jerry (Tom & Jerry)
  5. Remi (Ratatouille)

Timestamps are below for the video above:

0:28 - Gaming rig
1:30 - Being a focal point of ONE Championship’s marketing
2:22 - Not marked or mis-marketed by UFC?
4:12 - Should fighters chase UFC glory or put their business first?
6:37 - Henry Cejudo calling out Dominick Cruz, Jose Aldo
9:04 - Demetrious Johnson’s video game hot take
10:40 - Ranking famous cartoon mouses (and one rat)

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