Perhaps the biggest MMA headline of the week – and justifiably so – is the UFC’s ongoing troubles with dominant flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, who sits on the precipice of one of the sport’s greatest record when he will attempt to secure an unprecedented eleventh straight title defense in his next bout.
Johnson is set on defending the belt against a deserving contender at 125 pounds, a fight he proclaimed his employers at the UFC forced on him when they told him he would be facing rising young prospect Ray Borg after he had requested a super fight with bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt. But when “No Love” was forced out of his scheduled fight with archrival TJ Dillashaw at July 8’s UFC 213, the UFC made an extreme about-face and demanded he fight Dillashaw, according to “Mighty Mouse.”
That lead to the usually-compliant champion issuing a shocking statement against the UFC and how he has been treated by their top decision-makers, which included threats of taking away any chance he had at pay-per-view (PPV) revenue and the outright trashing of the flyweight division. Johnson further elaborated on these threats to Ariel Helwani earlier this week, noting that he called the UFC’s bluff and told them to go ahead and scrap the division.
“Mighty Mouse” seemed to have some incredibly valid gripes with the UFC, yet that didn’t stop Dillashaw from blasting his potential opponent online. Branded a “snake” by much of the MMA universe, Dillashaw is clearly looking for a title shot any way he can get it, and he won’t stop dragging Johnson’s name through the mud to get it. “The Viper” recently described his mindset to MMA Junkie, adding that he wants to fight for a belt soon because it requires cutting weight:
“I feel like it’s disappointing that Demetrious is going to go out this way and not take the fight. I don’t care if it’s Cody or if it’s Demetrious, I just want to fight. I want to fight soon. I want that big title fight.
“But I need to know sooner than later, because I’m in the process of changing my entire body around right now. This isn’t an eight-week process; this is a 12-week process. Not only do I want to make the weight, I want to perform at the weight, as well.”
With that established, Dillashaw said he believes Johnson is actually tarnishing his legacy by not fighting him:
“I think the smartest thing for me to do is stay on the path I’m on now until Demetrious mans up and realizes he’s going to ruin his legacy by not taking this fight,” Dillashaw said.
With the flyweight division obviously possessing the least hype and promotional weight from the UFC, Dillashaw said there was an easy fix to Johnson’s desire to be paid like a true great of the sport, and that’s a fight with him:
“(Johnson) wants pay-per-view, which he would get if he fights me. He wants to be promoted, which he would get if he fights me. We both want the same thing – we both want to be the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, as well as make a lot of money and be promoted. To fix all those problems, the only thing he has to do is fight me.”
As for Johnson’s insistence that Dillashaw should prove he can make the flyweight title limit of 125 pounds and get a win there before fighting for the belt, Dillashaw thinks Garbrandt getting a shot at former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz over him was worse than him going down to flyweight for an immediate shot:
“Demetrious wants to say I’m jumping the line to fight him when there is no line to jump. Cody jumping in front of me to fight for the title is a bigger jump than me jumping the line at 125 to fight him.”
Finally, Dillashaw laid it on the line about Johnson’s potential fight with Ray Borg, noting that he’s missed weight a lot more than Dillashaw ever has, and even if he made the championship limit, few would watch the card even though “Mighty Mouse” would be attempting to break the record for consecutive title defenses. The only reason Johnson is turning the fight down, in his mind, is because he’s scared Dillashaw would take his title and therefore the record, but he wants the illustrious champ to know he’s never received more publicity than he has for the current media rivalry with him:
“He should be worried abiout Ray Borg missing weight; he’s missed weight half of his career. ’ve never missed weight since I was 8 years old wrestling. Tell him he can have my show money if I miss the weight. I ain’t going to miss it. It’s just another excuse not to take the fight.
“I don’t know why it’s pulling teeth with him,” he added. “The only thing I can think of is that he’s scared to lose his belt.
“There’s been a lot of attention, more attention than Demetrious has gotten in a long time because I said I’d fight him,” he said. “It’s been proven there’s attention behind this fight. He’s going to be fighting to break the record, and nobody’s going to watch it (vs. Borg).”