Over the last few months, several UFC champions have caught flack for calling for money fights – that is, the fights that they believe will make them the most money, rather than the ones that make the most sense from a rankings standpoint.
The most high-profile fighter to chase these fights is, of course, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor, who has contested his last two fights in the welterweight division, raking in multiple millions for a pair of grudge matches with Nate Diaz. Then there’s welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, who has been chasing lucrative fights with Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz, while lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez is after a bout with Conor McGregor, and bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has expressed interest in a super fight with interim featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
Though this trend is controversial among fans – and among the hardworking contenders who are being passed over for money fights – UFC flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson recently announced his intention to hop aboard the money fight train.
“Now, everybody is like, ‘I don’t want to fight the number one contender, I want to fight the guy who everybody likes to watch fight, so that I get that big pay check’,” Johnson said on the most recent episode of Submission Radio. “Trust me, I’m about to jump in that boat too, but I will never turn down a fight and I’ll just fight anybody.”
So, what’s the money fight for Mighty Mouse? A super fight with dominant bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. Though Mighty Mouse lost a decision to Cruz back in 2011, he believes a rematch with Cruz today should earn him about $2 million.
“I think $2 million is fair,” Johnson said. “I think it’s $2 million. Obviously we don’t have the same fanbase, you know, we’re not prom king or prince or duke or whatever like Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz are. But I’ll tell you what, our skillset and what we’ve done in the past as mixed martial artists in this sport – shit, Dominick Cruz has defended his belt more times than Conor McGregor has and Conor McGregor is more active than Dominick Cruz. So that right there, just what we bring to the table as athletes, and what we’ve done in this sport, I think that deserves two million dollars, especially since the UFC got bought for 4.2 billion dollars. WME-IMG has the cash to front this fight.”
Johnson went on to explain that his first priority is beating Anderson’s Silva’s record of 10 consecutive title defenses (he’s currently at 8). From there, it’s on to his money fight with Cruz.
“So with that being said, obviously we got the Ultimate Fighter fight first, and if everything goes well in that fight, then hopefully we fight again. And when I break [Anderson’s Silva’s] record, you know, we go talk and I’m like, ‘Yo, you guys want a super fight?… If you guys want this fight to happen, this is my price. If you don’t, I’ll keep whooping ass at 125.’ That’s how a negotiation goes for me. Like, this is what I want. You guys have an agenda; this is my agenda. If you guys have a problem with me wanting to retire eventually one day from putting my body on the line for seven, eight years for this company, alright, then let’s make it happen. If we don’t see eye to eye, then okay. I can keep doing other things that are going to make me successful.”
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