The UFC’s flyweight champion made his case for a spot on the UFC’s stop in Las Vegas during International Fight Week, with him going as far as to even suggest some tantalising potential co-headliners.
UFC 216 was the event and the night’s penultimate fight had moved into its fifth and final round. The flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson was on the verge of breaking the seemingly unsurpassable title-defense record set by the legendary Anderson Silva during his ten-fight long reign atop the middleweight ranks and all things considered, it was looking like a pretty successful night on the job.
His opponent Ray Borg, though gutsy and almost certainly one to watch in the future, found himself completely outclassed at every turn over the course of the opening four rounds. Johnson’s run at 125lbs had seen him come up against very little in the way of adversity in recent years and with this eleventh straight defense of his belt, he looked set to coast through to a unanimous decision victory.
Then, out of nowhere, the game’s pound-to-pound number one pulled something out of his back-pocket that absolutely nobody could have seen coming. A suplex-into-armbar, unlike any submission we’ve ever seen attempted in the UFC to date and sure enough, the pieces fell into place and Demetrious came away with his third fifth-round finish in the promotion.
It may well have been the most amazing submission in the history of the sport and despite seemingly never doing enough to satisfy the fans, for at least a while, Johnson was able to bask in the unanimous praises of the MMA world.
Now, with a super-fight between himself and the bantamweight kingpin TJ Dillashaw in the works, DJ spoke to Brett Okamoto of ESPN and outlined exactly where and when he feels the bout should go down and if we’re completely honest, it could well be a fight-card that eclipses all others this year – although the return of a certain Irishman may change that.
“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. I’d rather have somebody else main event, who is going to bring in way more PPVs. In my opinion, that’s held up the fight on my end.
“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. Cyborg and me vs. TJ, they can send me the contract. They can negotiate that contract now.
“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.”
A triple header that contains three of the most widely-requested bouts that the UFC can make right now could – in theory – happen. But, with the future of the former-welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre still completely up in the air due to his ongoing battle with colitis, perhaps another fight of epic proportions will be needed, a fight that could well involve that aforementioned Irishman, if all of the necessary pieces fall into place.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena