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UFC champ Demetrious Johnson has some bad news for fellow flyweights
LAS VEGAS – As UFC champion Demetrious Johnson inches up on Anderson Silva’s all-time record of 10 consecutive UFC title defenses, the prevailing wisdom has suggested he’d eventually best the mark and move on to challenges outside the flyweight division.
That might not actually be the case.
“I don’t know,” Johnson told MMAjunkie. “I don’t really keep track of how many title defense I have. I just don’t. The only time people talk about it is when you just mention it. I’m not at home like, ‘Yeah, I’ve got eight. That’s what’s up.’ I’m just at home doing my thing.
“But for me, obviously it’s beating that record, and then after that I’ll decide what I want to do. If the money is right, or if I’m like, ‘I don’t feel like taking more damage in my career’ – I only get one brain and one body, so I’m like, ‘Why don’t I just stay here and keep just wrecking house if I’m able to do that?'”
Johnson is the UFC’s first flyweight champion, and more than four years since he first earned that belt, he remains the company’s only flyweight champion, as well. With eight successful title defenses already to his name, Johnson lacked any obvious contenders, leading the UFC to recruit 16 regional flyweight champions from around the world to compete on “The Ultimate Fighter 24” for a chance at the UFC title.
Six-time UFC veteran Tim Elliott (13-6-1 MMA, 2-4 UFC) proved victorious in the tournament and now meets Johnson (24-2-1 MMA, 12-1-1 UFC) in the headlining bout of The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale, which takes place Saturday at The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.
Johnson, who sits at No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA pound-for-pound rankings, is a massive 10-1 favorite in the matchup, but “Mighty Mouse” isn’t counting Elliott out of the fight.
“Everybody knows what he brings – awkwardness – to mixed martial arts,” Johnson said. “He’s fought the best of the best of the division – (John) Dodson, Joseph (Benavidez), Ali Bagautinov. So you know, (I’m) just going out there and fighting and seeing what he wants to do and take it to him.”
A win would leave Johnson just one title defense away from Silva’s incredible record. He’s made no secret that he intends to surpass that mark.
After that, well, it might not be on to the bantamweight division, after all.
“At the end of the day, that’sd not my job,” Johnson said. “My job is to make weight and fight – that’s it.
“I’m more focused on just keeping on getting better as an athlete, and whoever the UFC calls, ‘Hey, this is your fight,’ I’m like, ‘OK, sounds good.'”