Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is finally on-board with the idea of a superfight with bantamweight titleholder TJ Dillashaw – but only if it’s featured on a blockbuster pay-per-view event.
“It’s the superfight everyone wants,” Johnson told ESPN. “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, [someone] who is going to bring in way more PPVs. In my opinion, that’s held up the fight on my end. I’ve seen guys jump on [stacked] PPV cards and make $1.5 million, fighting an inferior opponent than who I’m about to fight. Me and TJ could fight on a smaller card and pull 275,000 buys, get an extra check for $75,000. My management told me, ‘You know what, we’ll hold out for a big event.’
”A lot of media and fans think that’s a way of turning down fights or ducking someone, but that’s a way of being a smart businessman and getting the most money you can get. … I’ll wait for that opportunity, because in that one card, I’ll basically make more money than three fights — a year and a half of my life — [combined].”
Johnson also mapped out a dream scenario in terms of the kind of line-up that he’d like to see the superfight be a part of.
“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. [Cris] Cyborg and me vs. TJ, they can send me the contract. They can negotiate that contract now.”
That might not be possible, but Johnson says that if it’s not going to happen on a PPV event that’s going to draw good numbers then he’s simply not going to take part, regardless of what the implications of that are.
“If UFC comes back and says, ‘You know what, Demetrious, we’re not going to give you that,’ I’ll say, ‘Perfect, send me the No. 1 contender in the flyweight division and TJ can stay up and fight whoever he wants.’ That’s how I am when it comes to this.
”I’m not going to sit here and f**king argue. ‘This is what I want. If you’re not going to give it to me, that’s fine. I’ll just keep fighting guys in my division. You want to strip me? Fine, perfect. Strip me. I’ll work my way back up the ladder.’
”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.”