UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has owned the organization’s 125-pound division since its inception and he has no plans of going anywhere else.
Although he acknowledges he has heard fans clamoring for him to eventually move up in weight to explore new challenges at bantamweight, Johnson is content cleaning out his division.
“There’s things the fans want, and there’s things I want, like to have the most title defenses ever. I think what I want comes first. You can call me selfish, but at the end of the day, Demetrious Johnson has to take care of Demetrious Johnson,” he said. “If the fans are going to let me come stay with them and pay for my son’s college and all that stuff, then yeah, we can go that route.
“But I highly doubt that’s going to happen.”
Since winning a tournament to become champion when the weight class was added to the UFC in 2012, Johnson has defended the belt six times. He has his eye on Anderson Silva’s record of 10 straight successful defenses.
Johnson, 28, has a chance to add to his streak when he fights John Dodson in the main event of UFC 191 on Sept. 5 at the MGM Grand Garden.
It will be a rematch of a fight Johnson won by unanimous decision in January 2013. The champion uncharacteristically took some damage in the fight and was even dropped twice by Dodson.
Johnson feels that was all in his approach to the fight.
“It’s a lot of me chasing him and trying to get to him. That’s where I left myself open to getting in trouble. Even after I got dropped, and kudos to him for doing that, but once he dropped me he still continued to back up and that’s why it was so difficult,” Johnson said. “It could (have been) a boring fight. If I went out there and fought him the way Floyd Mayweather would fight him, kept my distance, played it safe, used my footwork and just negated things, the fight would be (expletive). It would be horrible. But that’s not me.
“Yes, I’m opening myself to counterattacks or getting dropped, as you saw in the first fight, but that’s the chance I’m willing to take to get my opponent to start fighting.”
Johnson has the luxury of not having to cut a bunch of weight before a fight, which is another reason he may be hesitant about moving up.
He said after consuming chicken, asparagus, a big bottle of strawberry milk and white powdered doughnuts on a recent night, he still weighed just 140 pounds — an easily cuttable 15 pounds over his fighting weight.
“I’ll say I’m probably the smallest guy in the division, and I’m OK with that,” he said.
As long as he has the belt.
* ALDO-McGREGOR IN VEGAS — A featherweight title unification bout between champion Jose Aldo and interim champ Conor McGregor has been scheduled as the main event for UFC 194 at the MGM Grand Garden on Dec. 12, sources close to the organization confirmed Monday.
UFC president Dana White previously said the bout was being considered to headline an event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 5 with a women’s bantamweight title fight between Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey as the co-headliner.
That event won’t happen. Yahoo! Sports first reported the news.
Rousey is now expected to headline a separate event. White announced Monday her next fight would be in Las Vegas, where a Jan. 2 card has been scheduled. Rousey has not yet been confirmed as part of that event, however.
Aldo had been scheduled to defend his belt against McGregor last month, but was forced to pull out of the fight with a rib injury. McGregor instead fought Chad Mendes for the interim title and won the belt with a second-round knockout.
The MGM Grand Garden is unavailable on Dec. 5 due to an Andrea Bocelli concert, prompting the move back a week.
* SILVA TO FACE NAC — Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva will finally have his day in front of the Nevada Athletic Commission on Thursday.
Silva is on the agenda for the commission’s 9 a.m. meeting for a disciplinary hearing stemming from two failed drug tests in January. The former champion allegedly tested positive for steroids both before and after his win over Nick Diaz at UFC 183 on Jan. 31.
Diaz was also expected to face a disciplinary hearing at the meeting for failing his postfight drug test because of marijuana.
He has been removed from the agenda, however, because his attorney has a scheduling conflict. Diaz will likely be placed back on the agenda for the commission’s next meeting.
* UFC 193 HEADED DOWN UNDER — Robbie Lawler will put the UFC welterweight belt on the line against Carlos Condit in the main event of UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia, on Nov. 14.
Condit missed most of 2014 with a knee injury he suffered during a loss to Tyron Woodley. He returned to earn a second-round knockout victory over Thiago Alves in May.
Lawler has won four straight fights. He took the welterweight belt from Johny Hendricks in December and defended it with a fifth-round knockout of Rory MacDonald in July.
Hendricks will fight Woodley at UFC 192 on Oct. 3 with the winner expected to be next in line to fight for the title.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.