On Saturday night at UFC 215, Demetrious Johnson will attempt to set the all-time record for title defenses in the UFC when he faces Ray Borg while putting his flyweight championship on the line for the 11th consecutive occasion.
Johnson is currently tied with former middleweight champion Anderson Silva with 10 title defenses after he defeated Wilson Reis earlier this year.
The odds are certainly on Johnson’s side that he’ll get to No. 11 considering he’s currently sitting as a 10-to-1 favorite to beat Borg and retain his title. That being said, Johnson doesn’t plan on stoppage at only 11 title defenses because in a perfect world he will set a new all time record that will sit alone in the history books long after he’s retired.
“A friend of mine once said, ten [title defenses] that’s attainable, 11 that’s attainable, he goes 15 is f–king legendary,” Johnson told MMAWeekly.com on a recent UFC media conference call. “He goes, why don’t you just go to 15? I said, you know what? Why not?
“I mean I’m 31 years old and I feel good and you’ve got a lot of new young up and coming guys coming into the division so why not just keep on doing it because I can.”
Of course part of the argument that always goes against Johnson is the dominance he’s shown at flyweight while the division is still so new.
Johnson cut down to 125 pounds after spending the majority of his career fighting as an undersized bantamweight and while several others joined him in the newly created division a few years ago, the weight class has still struggled to find worthy contenders while he’s run roughshod over everyone put in front of him.
It’s part of the reason why Johnson has been attached to so many requests to see him move back to bantamweight just to test himself against bigger and arguably more skilled opposition.
Johnson has never been opposed to a super fight at 135 pounds, but he’s always stated that if he’s going to challenge himself against bigger opposition, he wants a heftier paycheck to match.
“It’s not like 135 [pounds] is going anywhere. When I get 35 or 36 or 37 years old, when I’m tired of dieting and not having Oreo’s the week before my fight, then you know, I’ll go to 135 but right now I’m focused on setting records as high as I can,” Johnson said. “And then the money is right, go up to 135 and let’s make it happen.
“Let’s be honest, if Conor McGregor would have got, you know, $2 million to fight [Floyd] Mayweather he probably wouldn’t have done it.”
For all the flack Johnson has taken for not opting to bump up a division just for the sake of proving himself, he seems to hear his name being called by a lot of other fighters today.
Former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw was in the running to land a fight with Johnson not to mention current 135-pound king Cody Garbrandt has said he’d like to drop down to flyweight to put an end to his historic reign.
That all adds up to money in Johnson’s back account as well as a great way to put some established competition on his resume while attempting to rack up even more title defenses.
“I’m just focused on doing what I do best which is just clean house in my division and everybody in the UFC, everybody in the world says, he’s the most boring fighter, he doesn’t sell any pay-per-view but everyone wants to fight me,” Johnson said. “So, I don’t understand why they keep saying that but, yes, that makes me happy that my name keeps coming out of their mouth and obviously if that fight were to happen we’ll all sit down like grown men, businessmen, and negotiate whether it would be [125 pounds] or [135 pounds].”
For now, Johnson will just stay focused on breaking the record against Borg this weekend and if he’s successful then the next most important goal will be getting to No. 12.