Brad Pickett holds a win over UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, but he’s not angling for a title shot even though he recently joined the same weight division.
“I don’t want a title shot off past merits,” Pickett told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I want to earn my title shot now. … I’ve worked hard in my career to be where I am now. I’ve worked hard for everything I’ve done. I don’t want to be given a freebie on past accolades of me beating Demetrious Johnson before.”
Pickett won a unanimous decision over Johnson in a 135-pound bout at WEC 48 in April 2010. Of course, Johnson went on to drop to 125 pounds and become the UFC champion. Now Pickett has also made the move, debuting Saturday at UFC Fight Night 38 with a win over Neil Seery.
“A lot of people were looking to me making the weight and looked at me at the weigh-ins and thought I looked like death,” Picket said. “But to be honest with you, I may have looked bad, but I felt great. I made that weight a lot easier than I made 135.”
Despite the successful cut, Pickett is content to take his time in the division. He believes a couple of other fighters deserve a shot at Johnson before he does.
“I fought Demetrious Johnson two years ago,” Pickett said. “I know he’s improved as a fighter, but so have I. I’ve improved. I still think I match up well against him and I pose him a lot of problems, as I did before, and I believe I still can, but for me, maybe I need to have one or two more fights and do well within the division to get my title shot.”
With that said, though, Pickett doesn’t sound daunted by Johnson’s rise in the flyweight division. In fact, he gets a little annoyed when people question whether he could handle the champion’s speed.
“I’m like, ‘Man, you guys are crazy. Did you ever see my first fight with Demetrious Johnson? He was lightning fast,’” Pickett said. “He hasn’t got any slower or any quicker. I don’t think he could get quicker, and I dealt with his speed back then. … I’m not the fastest guy, but I’m not slow either. How you deal with speed is good timing, and I think I have great timing. I timed him very well on that night, and when I got a hold of him, I took him down. When he’s on the floor, he’s the same speed as me. You can’t be quick when you’re on your back.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 57:35).