Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno have been playing hot potato with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight title for three fights in a row. Despite the 1-1-1 nature of their rivalry, Demetrious Johnson doesn’t see a need for an immediate fourth encounter.
“Mighty Mouse” isn’t the only one disinterested, however, as the reigning champion, Figueiredo, has recently expressed a strong desire to face surging contender, Kai Kara-France. Due to nagging injuries, Figureiedo is aiming for an October or November return. It remains to be seen if UFC will oblige.
As Flyweight’s consensus all-time best, Johnson set the record for consecutive title defenses in UFC before parting ways for ONE Championship in 2018. Throughout Johnson’s run, he was often criticized for his poor box office drawing ability, which was exacerbated by lack of support and marketing push from the promotion.
“Yes, it makes a lot of money sense for UFC, and maybe the athletes, too,” Johnson said on The MMA Hour of the fourth Figueiredo vs. Moreno fight. “But, I know how UFC contracts are structured so whether Brandon Moreno fights Figueiredo or fights Kai Kara-France, I’m sure he’s gonna get the same pay. Those boys ain’t getting pay-per-view points. They never gave Flyweights pay-per-view points. Don’t act like y’all getting 800,000 pay-per-view buys.
“So you’re better off fighting Kai Kara-France or [Alexandre] Pantoja,” he continued. “Then if you get that, boom, you get your show and your win so you probably make $250K. Okay, then you might be on an escalator so you fight another one, there’s another $250K so you make $500K. Now you fight for a world title, get your $30K Reebok sponsorship. At the end, you’ll be like, ‘Hey, I got two fights on my contract. You know what, I don’t want to re-sign, I want to fight this one out.’ Then let’s say you win the belt, next thing you know, you’re in a great position. So it’s better to fight just to fight to make your money then go for it.”’
Since joining ONE Championship, Johnson is 3-1 and most recently picked up a win in a mixed rules bout against Muay Thai legend, Rodtang Jitmuangnon at ONE: X late last month (watch highlights).