Over the last few weeks, UFC President Dana White has been pushing UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson to accept a fight with a slimmed down former bantamweight champion in TJ Dillashaw. Johnson, however, has some real reservations. He believes the next flyweight title shot should go to the established Ray Borg, and is reluctant to take any huge risks for the UFC President, who he recently divulged hasn’t treated him especially well.
During a Wednesday night appearance on UFC Tonight, UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier weighed in on this complicated UFC-Johnson-Dillashaw debacle. In his opinion, if the UFC wants to make this Johnson-Dillashaw happen they need to make it worth the flyweight champ’s while. Cormier believes a one million dollar payday should be enough in that regard.
“UFC, if you want Demetrious Johnson to fight TJ Dillashaw, give him the money,” Cormier said (h/t MMAFighting.com). “Pay him a million dollars and say ‘that’s your fight.’ I know it’s a lot for a 125-pounder, but the guy’s the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Pay him the money, and then let him go fight. … Pay him as the No. 1 fighter in the world for once.”
Cormier then offered his take on Johnson’s new beef with the UFC. The light heavyweight champion was reluctant to take sides, but acknowledged that the UFC has not done a great job of promoting the flyweight king.
“I think the responsibility for everything can be shared between Demetrious and the UFC,” Cormier said. “The UFC really doesn’t understand how to market him, because they have to get creative. He’s smaller. He’s not the biggest guy. He’s dominant. Even when Anderson Silva was the guy running through his division, his points weren’t very high, so they have to get creative. I don’t know if they’ve gotten creative. But I do believe DJ has done his part.”
At the end of the day, however, Cormier believes Johnson should probably accept the fight with Dillashaw.
“I think it’s the fight to take,” Cormier said. “Because not only is it the biggest fight he can have, but it’s also monumental and he’s trying to break that record. If he does it on a former champion in a division ranked even higher? It means even more for Demetrious Johnson.”
Do you think it’s time for the UFC to write Demetrious Johnson a million-dollar check?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/8/2017.