If Demetrious Johnson does end up meeting TJ Dillashaw in a clash of champions, he aims to see it done on a star-studded bill.
Speaking with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto this week, the reigning flyweight king said he’s ready for a date with the bantamweight champ but won’t sign on the dotted line unless they compete on a card built for a hefty buyrate, as Johnson is entitled to a percentage of the pay-per-views he generates.
“That’s what the UFC wants,” Johnson said. “It’s the superfight everyone wants. I think TJ and I are both on board. We just want to make sure it’s on a stacked card. We want to make sure we can benefit from a good pay-per-view buy. I think I deserve it, and I think he deserves it.”
Johnson has repeatedly pulled lackluster buyrates over his iron-fisted reign as 125-pound champ, hence his desire to see a more bankable bout headline the bill. With a UFC record 11 consecutive title defenses to his name, “Mighty Mouse” believes he’s earned the right to bide his time.
“I’d rather have somebody else (be the) main event, who is going to bring in way more pay-per-views. In my opinion, that’s held up the fight on my end.
“I’ve seen guys jump on (stacked) pay-per-view cards and make $1.5 million, fighting an inferior opponent than who I’m about to fight. Me and TJ could fight on a smaller card and pull 275,000 buys, get an extra check for $75,000. My management told me, ‘You know what, we’ll hold out for a big event.'”
The 31-year-old is currently recovering from shoulder surgery and Dillashaw – a career bantamweight – has previously stated he’d need 16 weeks to successfully cut down to 125 pounds. Should he get his wish, Johnson would welcome Dillashaw to his division in July on International Fight Week’s typically stacked pay-per-view in Las Vegas – with two more champion vs. champion bouts gracing the card.
“If we can get three title fights – a champions vs. champions edition – that should do well. If they did Georges St-Pierre vs. Tyron Woodley, Amanda Nunes vs. (Cris) Cyborg and me vs. TJ, they can send me the contract. They can negotiate that contract now.”
Should the brass aim to book the lighter-weight champions on a smaller bill, Johnson said he won’t offer much in the way of protest. In fact, he’ll go back to doing what he has over the past five-plus years: taking on any and all flyweight contenders. Should his stance be met with a stripping of the crown he’s held since September 2012, he’ll gladly work his way back into title contention.
“I’m not going to sit here and f–king argue. ‘This is what I want. If you’re not going to give it to me, that’s fine. I’ll just keep fighting guys in my division. You want to strip me? Fine, perfect. Strip me. I’ll work my way back up the ladder.’
“I’ve beat everyone in my division. Now I’m waiting for my opportunity to be on the kind of card that makes that kind of money. And I’m not trying to piggyback off anyone else. I feel I bring a lot to the table – 11 title defenses. I should get that opportunity. If people disagree, that’s their problem. That’s what I feel I am worth.”