Demetrious Johnson wants to make history and be well paid to do it
In October of 2011, Demetrious Johnson lost a decision to Dominick Cruz. That fight was at bantamweight, but since then Johnson has gone 10 consecutive fights without a loss and is the reigning flyweight world champion.
Cruz, of course, also just won back his bantamweight title. Cruz has already said that he’s eyeing a rubber match with Urijah Faber, but if Johnson has his way, he’ll get a super-fight rematch against "The Dominator."
"We’ve always wanted to fight Dominick Cruz again. Not because there was some bad blood or I lost to him — a little bit because I lost to him — but at the same time, he was the uncrowned champ, you know. He had never lost as a champion, they stripped him of his belt from his injury. And I felt that the first fight we had, it was a rough fight for me, but I feel like I gave him his best fight to date, just trying to push him — other than TJ. TJ did an amazing job as well," Johnson recently told Submission Radio (below).
The 125-pound king wants to break former middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s record for consecutive title defenses, but after that he wants to become a two-division champion. He doesn’t think any of it will be easy, but great fighters have great goals.
"First things first, I got to make sure I can keep my belt and break Anderson Silva’s title defenses [record]," he explained.
"And then after that, when I’ve done that and I have more marketing power and marketability and everyone’s loving me … I’m going to see if I can do it to Dominick Cruz. And by no means will that one be an easy fight. Dominick Cruz is an absolute beast."
Still, Johnson knows that he’s improved a great deal since 2011. He also takes confidence from already having the experience of feeling what Cruz brings to the table.
"The biggest thing is that I felt his footwork before, I felt his range before. I know his recipe to beat me," he said.
"And it’s no secret, he’s a bigger dude than me, he has longer range, his footwork is good. And the hardest thing is — when you saw the fight between TJ and Dom, when TJ would chase Dom — like you guys don’t realize. To me, when somebody’s 5-9 and I’m 5-3, and if he stands up tall and backs up, I can’t get to his head. So it’s a hard thing. Dom’s a hard person to fight because he’s tall and he’s long and he uses a lot of footwork, so half the time when you saw TJ and him fighting, TJ kept throwing that high kick and the high kick would land, but by the time it gets to Dominick Cruz’s neck it’s lost all its juice because Dom is backing up, pulling away, and he’s also the taller fighter.
"So it’s a tough fight. But like I said, the difference would be that I’ve been there before, I typically do better in my rematches, but I always have to worry about that Dom is a bigger dude, he’s longer and he can wrestle. And like I said, when I mean he’s a bigger dude, I woke up the other day weighing 139.5 — and I was eating whatever I want. So that just shows you that it’s only a four-pound cut for me, to where as he’s probably walking around at 145, 160 maybe."
Johnson is intent on making history with his career. If he does, he intends to get paid like the world-class athlete that he is.
As much as he wants to eventually fight Dominick Cruz again and capture world titles in two different weight classes, Johnson is sticking to his fight purse price tag of $2 million for "super fights." His promoter is coming off of a record year for revenue, and the champion has no qualms in telling them that they need to pay up in order to make huge fights with him attached.
"If the UFC can net-gross 600 million dollars, they can spare two million dollars of that. They wouldn’t even f-cking notice that it’s gone," he continued.
"I value myself at a high level and I think everybody should. I think with all these other fighters fighting out the end of their contracts and seeing what they are worth, it’s good. At the end of the day, it’s about can you pay your bills? We are all athletes and our windows of opportunity to make as much money as possible is short.
"So for me to go up to a different weight class and take on the champion … I don’t need to go fight Dominick Cruz. I don’t need to go fight for the 135 pound belt. There’s nothing in my life that says, ‘arghhh, you gotta do it.’ Right now I’m focused on breaking the title defenses [record], putting enough money away for me [so that] after I’m done fighting in mixed martial arts, I can have a smooth transition into my next career and have enough money to where I don’t have to look back like, ‘man, I should have done this and this with my money.’ I want to make sure I’m well taken care of … my mindset is to take care of my family and my kids."