History is within reach for Demetrious Johnson, but the reigning flyweight champion has designs on more than simply surpassing a record – he wants to shatter it.
When “Mighty Mouse” faces Ray Borg in the UFC 215 headliner at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on Saturday night, he will be going for his 11th straight successful title defense. That would give him sole possession of a record he currently shares with pound-for-pound great Anderson Silva. But while it’s trendy these days to talk of super fights and holding championships in multiple divisions, Johnson would rather raise the bar so high at 125 pounds that no one else can reach it.
“A friend of mine once said, ‘10 that's attainable, 11 that's attainable.’ He goes, ‘15 is f----ing legendary.’ He goes, ‘Why don’t you just go to 15?’ I said, ‘you know what? Why not?’ I mean I'm 31 years old and I feel good and you've got a lot of new young up and coming guys coming into the division so why not just keep on doing it because I can,” he said during a recent media call.
With that in mind, Johnson believes, a much talked about move up to bantamweight can wait until a few years down the line.
“I mean, it's not like 135 is going anywhere. When I get 35 or 36 or 37 years old, when I'm tired of dieting and not having Oreo's the week before my fight, then you know, I'll go to 135,” he said. “But right now I'm focused on setting records as high as I can. And then the money is right, go up to 135 and let's make it happen. Let's be honest, if Conor McGregor would have got, you know, $2 million to fight Mayweather he probably wouldn’t have done it.”
While Johnson is not generally perceived as a pay-per-view draw, current bantamweight king Cody Garbrandt has expressed interest in a bout with the AMC Pankration standout. And when Garbrandt pulled out of UFC 213 this summer due to a back injury, opponent – and former champ – T.J. Dillashaw was ready to drop to 125 pounds for a shot at Johnson. The flyweight champ balked at the matchup and urged Dillashaw to win a fight at flyweight first. That response drew some venom from UFC President Dana White, who isn’t averse to throwing some of his most successful fighters under the bus when they don’t toe the company line.
“It cracks me up because everybody always keeps throwing my name out of their mouth and for me I'm just focused on doing what I do best, which is just clean house in my division and everybody in the UFC,” Johnson said. “Everybody in the world says, he's the most boring fighter, he doesn’t sell any pay-per-view but everyone wants to fight me. So, I don’t understand why they keep saying that but, yes, that makes me happy that my name keeps coming out of their mouth and obviously if that fight were to happen we'll all sit down like grown men, businessmen, and negotiate whether it would be 25 or 35.”
Johnson and White have since buried the hatchet during a meeting at UFC 214, and “Mighty Mouse” is ready to move forward and focus on Saturday’s event.
“The conversation that me and Dana White had at UFC 214 was just two grown ass men discussing what happened in our downfall,” he said. “We’re on good terms now and we’re ready to go out there and put on an exciting fight in the UFC 215.”