For the last few years, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has had a problem. Basically recognized as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet (although I still say it’s Jon Jones) and with ten successful defenses under his belt—literally—unfortunately D.J.’s too little, too dominant, and too soft-spoken to attract big money, a grievance he has been justifiably lamenting. Although at 125-lbs, he’s only a pound lighter than featherweight boxer Naseem Hamed, who’s power-punching and flamboyance made him one of boxing’s biggest draws—and assholes—in the late nineties and early 2000’s. It’s not his lack of size as much his and lack of rivalries and nice-guy (aka bland) personality that have most hurt Mighty Mouse’s marketability.
He’s already beaten all of the top challengers in the division. In some cases against his toughest tests, like Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson, he’s even run it back and beaten them again only more thoroughly. Anyone he hasn’t already wrecked would be astronomical underdogs. In short, Johnson’s cleaned out the flyweight division. I was hoping he’d jump to 135-lbs, which was the weight he fought at until 2012, and is currently a division swarming with sharks and big-name opponents. Then again, with as dominant as he is at 125, is it really fair to make him move up in weight instead of putting together a nearly untouchable legacy as the best flyweight ever? I can see both sides of the argument.
But fortunately the MMA gods have smiled upon all of us, because wouldn’t you know it, after a talks of a superfight between Johnson and newly-crowned 135-lb champ Cody Garbrandt—a top ten pound-for-pounder in his own right—fell through due to a back injury suffered by Garbrandt, who else has come to the rescue but the former champ and current number one contender at 135-lbs—and another top ten pound-for-pounder—T.J. Dillashaw. Fuckin sweet. This has Fight of the Year written all over it.
Except inexplicably, according to Don King’s Opposite Day twin Dana White, D.J. turned the fight down.
What the fuck? But this is your big chance D.J. A superfight, big money, big exposure. Dillashaw was a runner-up in The Ultimate Fighter 14, and a current coach on Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption opposite Garbrandt, who he was expected to fight next month before the Garbrandt’s injury. Dillashaw’s a highly established well-known fighter, would easily be D.J.’s biggest-named opponent of his career, and has already headlined big-drawing PPVs. He’s an even better money fight than Garbrandt. So why the fuck is D.J. ducking him? Say it ain’t so Mighty Mouse (sniffle).
Obviously miffed at White airing out contract negotiations publicly, Johnson took to social media to post his side of the story. He went through the whole rigamaroll ad nauseum, but to summarize, the UFC has been dicking him around forever now, and he’s had enough. That’s actually become a bit of a chorus lately from top UFC talent that are continually refused top UFC money. Upon closer examination of his story, sure enough, the UFC’s unabashed dickheadedness is srtiking again, but D.J. is missing the larger point, and making a crucial career error.
This is bigger than the UFC now. This is about looking like a bitch. And since Dillashaw’s one of the only dudes who might actually be favored against D.J., this looks even worse. I could see refusing if the UFC was forcing Johnson to move up in weight, but T.J.’s moving down. What’s the fuckin problem?
Johnson says he doesn’t believe Dillashaw can make the weight, and he wants to break the record for consecutive title defenses in his next fight at 125. Against who though? D.J. wants his next opponent to be the first fighter the UFC substituted for Garbrandt and a bout he’s already agreed to, against fourth-ranked flyweight contender Ray Borg. With all due respect to Mr. Borg though, nobody gives a flying fuck about that fight. The Dillashaw fight is so much bigger it’s barely quantifiable.
If D.J. doesn’t fight T.J. in the battle of the initials, then Johnson’s current minuscule marketability is sunk for good. And it should be. His fans, including myself, will also lose profound respect for him. Call it what you want. The UFC being dicks, not getting the chance to break the title defense record, fighting an opponent who’s never fought at 125 and might not be able to make weight—all those excuses are meaningless if this fight doesn’t materialize, and would make Mighty Mouse look like a squeaky little bitch. Dillashaw will be the toughest test and most high-profile bout of Johnson’s career, and a guy who’s always whining about a lack of big money opponents is gonna skip his big chance to break some dumbass trivial record?
Pussy-ass shit like this proves that along with his light heavyweight belt, Jon Jones never should have lost his unofficial title as pound-for-pound best either.