Despite Talks with UFC Brass, Demetrious Johnson Not Currently Considering Move to 135

By Tristen Critchfield Aug 27, 2015
Demetrious Johnson is only focused on defending his flyweight title. | Dave Mandel/

Even if he vanquishes John Dodson for a second time at UFC 191, Demetrious Johnson believes he has plenty left to accomplish in the flyweight division.

Johnson’s sentiment seems strange considering he owns convincing victories over many of the most prominent names in 125-pound Top 10. But when “Mighty Mouse” mentions who he hasn’t beaten, it seems clear that he is intent on truly cleaning out the division.

“There’s still a lot of guys I haven’t fought. I haven’t fought Sergio Pettis; I haven’t Henry Cejudo; I haven’t fought Ryan Benoit. They’re all great athletes,” Johnson said during a conference call to promote UFC 191. “Just because they don’t have big star names like the other guys, and they haven’t worked their way up and had a chance to test their skill set against guys like Dodson or [Joseph] Benavidez or Ian McCall, doesn’t mean they’re not a challenge or somebody I’m not looking forward to fighting.”

One thing Johnson isn’t looking forward to is a move to bantamweight for a prospective showdown against that division’s champion.

“At this point in my career it’s not even on my mind,” he said. “I’m a small guy and right now I’m focused on John Dodson. Once the time comes and I have broken the record and [accomplished] goals that I [set], then I’ll start thinking about going to 135.”

Johnson, who is the only flyweight champion the UFC has ever known, has his sights set on being one of the promotion’s greatest champions -- period. At the very least, that will require that he make several more title defenses. Perhaps by then, the Pettises and Benoits of the world will have earned the right to face one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighters. They should have time to develop, because it is unclear exactly when Johnson will be ready to start thinking outside the 125-pound box.

“When I got in this sport, this was a hobby for me and right now I’m going for my seventh title defense,” he said. “The record is held by Anderson Silva, and that’s 10, so if I can break that it would be an awesome thing. And to have the most finishes as a flyweight with knockoust, submission and TKOs, that’s another goal. Just being the most active flyweight...Once I’ve done all that stuff and things get better for myself, and Dana White and those guys approach me about 135, we’ll make it happen.”

According to Johnson, the UFC’s highest-ranking officials have already broached the topic.

“Don’t get it wrong, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta, we had a talk already about going to 135, and we had discussions, but that’s where they stayed.”


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