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Demetrious Johnson Asks Why he Shouldn’t Target 15 Title Defenses…

Kelsey Mowatt

UFC 216

Now that Demetrious Johnson has set a new record for title defenses, and has defeated many of the flyweight division’s top fighters, some might be asking why he doesn’t head up to 135. But, it sounds like the galaxy class fighter isn’t in a rush to leave the division, he’s been ruling since 2012.

Johnson submitted Ray Borg with a jaw dropping, fifth round armbar on Saturday night, and in doing so, scored his 11th title defense. There’s been talk about Johnson taking superfights at 135 for a little while now, on account of the fact he’s already defeated several top contenders. Plus, the argument has been, that Johnson could secure a bigger payday that way as well.

Well, Johnson was a guest on Monday’s “MMA Hour”, and while discussing his future, the Washington State fighter said this (quote via MMA Mania):

“Going up to that weigh class, obviously I want to be well-compensated and make it worth my while, show me the money. I mean, these guys are taking concussions. Like I said before, I am not in the business to take concussions,” Johnson said. “I do not like getting hit … I mean, I can take a hit, but I don’t want to damage my brain if I don’t have to. Obviously there fights at 125 that are appealing. Sergio Pettis is a hot prospect, Henry Cejudo looked good in his last fight, Joseph Benavidez is getting healthy again.”

“I don’t see a reason to leave after cementing this legacy, why not put it up to 15?” Johnson said. “There is going to come another guy down the road aiming to break my record, so my job is to set the bar high. Joanna Jedrzejczyk is at six and she may want to keep going to break my record. I can’t allow that, so I have to set the bar higher to where she says, ‘F–k that, I am not going for 20. I did eight, nine, I am done. I’m going to go have children, bye.'”

It’s hard to argue with Johnson here. If he is going to move up to 135, then it better be worth his while and then some. After all, it’s not like Johnson’s a massive flyweight, and the 5’3 tall star would likely be giving up a lot of reach. Further, with each bout at 125, Johnson has a chance to further entrench his legacy, as he alluded to.

But, as it stands right now, if Pettis loses to Cejudo on December 2nd, who will fans want Johnson to meet next?


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