If there one single thing every notable figure in MMA should do, it is appear on Submission Radio. UFC featherweight champion Demetrious Johnson appeared recently, and discussed a potential superfight rematch with Dominick Cruz.
Cruz beat Johnson via five round unanimous decision on October 1, 2011.
On why Demetrious wants to move up and rematch Dominick Cruz
“We’ve always wanted to fight Dominick Cruz again. Not because there was some bad blood or I lost to him – a little bit because I lost to him – but at the same time, he was the uncrowned champ, you know. He had never lost as a champion, they stripped him of his belt from his injury. And I felt that the first fight we had, it was a rough fight for me, but I feel like I gave him his best fight to date, just trying to push him – other than TJ. TJ did an amazing job as well – but at the same time, it’s something on the back burner.
“Everybody’s been talking about super-fights. You’ve got RDA taking on Conor McGregor, Conor McGregor trying to make history, getting two belts. And I think for me and my team – Matt Hume and AMC – we would love to try to become a two-weight world champion. But at the same time, the money’s gotta be right, the stars have got to align. First things first, I gotta make sure I can keep my belt and break Anderson Silva’s title defenses. And then after that, when I’ve done that and I have more marketing power and marketability and everyone’s loving me, then I’ll be like ‘you know, I beat Anderson Silva’s record, now it’s time to go beat Conor McGregor’s record. He didn’t become two-weight champion, he lost to RDA. I’m gonna see if I can do it by Dominick Cruz’. And by any means it will not be an easy fight. Dominick Cruz is an absolute beast.”
Demetrious’ thoughts on Cruz saying he could beat him again just as he did the first time and if it motivates him
“No, I don’t need any motivation. I don’t need an opponent to say “oh I can beat you” to motivate me. You know, when I get the contract and it’s in my lap and I’m like ‘ok let’s sign on the dot, let’s make this happen’, that’s all the motivation I need. I have a family and I I provide for them. And as a competitor, I’m a very competitive person and I want to leave a pretty sweet legacy behind me. So no motivation, anybody can talk trash about me. People in the past have before we fought and it has never changed my way I go about training. I just go in there with a clear mind that I’m going to go in there and beat this person and that’s it.”
On what would be different if Demetrious rematched Cruz
“The biggest thing is that I felt his footwork before, I felt his range before. I know his recipe to beat me. And it’s no secret, he’s a bigger dude than me, he has longer range, his footwork is good. And the hardest thing is – when you saw the fight between TJ and Dom, when TJ would chase Dom – like you guys don’t realize. To me, when somebody’s 5’9” and I’m 5’3”, and if he stands up tall and backs up, I can’t get to his head. So it’s a hard thing. Dom’s a hard person to fight because he’s tall and he’s long and he uses a lot of footwork, so half the time when you saw TJ and him fighting, TJ kept throwing that high kick and the high kick would land, but by the time it gets to Dominick Cruz’s neck it’s lost all its juice because Dom is backing up, pulling away, and he’s also the taller fighter. So it’s a tough fight. But like I said, the difference would be that I’ve been there before, I typically do better in my rematches, but I always have to worry about that Dom is a bigger dude, he’s longer and he can wrestle. And like I said, when I mean he’s a bigger dude, I woke up the other day weighing 139.5 – and I was eating whatever I want. So that just shows you that it’s only a four-pound cut for me, to where as he’s probably walking around at 145, 160 maybe.”
On what Demetrious would prefer next between Cejudo or Cruz if both contracts were on the table
“See, now you said two contracts on a table. Well first, if it was two contracts on a table, I would look to the money page to see which number is bigger.”
“You know what my price is for the super-fights – it’s two million dollars. So if I flip over to the Dominick Cruz page and I see that two-million dollar, that seven figure, I’m gonna sign that f—ing contract. An idiot would be the only person not to sign that contract. But you know, like I said, if the contracts that and it’s a two million dollars, absolutely I’d go for that super-fight. Oh s—, I’ll put my kids through college and I will never have to fight again. I’d be smart with that money. But – (laughs) my wife goes ‘no you wouldn’t’ – but that said, that’s not the reality right now. Obviously whatever fight’s next for me for the Flyweight division, that’s what’s going to be next.”
If DJ would take less than 2 million for the fight
“I feel like I’m worth more. I mean, I feel that if the UFC can net-gross 600 million dollars, they can spare two million dollars of that. They wouldn’t even f—ing notice that it’s gone. So that’s my case, and I value myself at a high level and I think everybody should. And I think with all these other fighters, you know, fighting out the end of their contracts and seeing what they’re worth, I think it’s good. At the end of the day, it’s about can you pay your bills? We are all athletes and our window of opportunity to make as much money as possible is a short window. So for me to go up to a different weight-class and take on the champion – and like I said, guys, I don’t need to go to fight Dominick Cruz. I don’t need to go fight for the 135-pound belt. I don’t need to. There’s nothing in my life that says ‘arggh, you gotta do it’. Right now I’m focused on breaking the title defences, putting enough money away for me [so that] after I’m done fighting in mixed martial arts I can have a smooth transition into my next career and have enough money to where I don’t have to look back like, ‘man, I should have done this and this with my money’. I want to make sure I’m well taken care of. And that’s how it should be for Conor [McGregor] and for Conor taking on Aldo. That was the biggest fight of his life. I’m pretty sure he made a hefty penny – which he should – and he brought in all the numbers. Totally cool. And when he fights RDA, he should make another hefty penny. If he’s smart with his money, don’t buy all those f—ing toys. Invest that money, buy a house, pay that off, and then he can do whatever he wants. So that’s where my mindset is. My mindset is to take care of my family and my kids and make sure I have enough money in investments. I’m good to go.”
On advantages over Cejudo and if his wrestling is a concern to him
“Well, I would say my biggest advantage over him is that I fought high calibre, grade-A, high calibre athletes in mixed martial arts. You know, I fought Joseph [Benavidez] twice, [John] Dodson twice, Ali Bagautinov the world Sambo champion – I don’t know how many times he was the Sambo world champion – I fought John Moraga, Kyoji Horiguchi – he only lost once in mixed martial arts and he’s fought around the world, he was a Shooto champion. So I’ve fought other tough opponents in mixed martial arts who I feel he hasn’t fought the guys that I fought. Like Dominick Cruz says, you know, me as a fighter, I made him to where he is. TJ’s added to that list, Urijah Faber is added to that list and so forth. I feel the same way. I feel, the guys I beat in the past and going into this fight – I’ve been in five-round wars where things didn’t go my way in the first two rounds and I was able to make adjustments and beat the guy. So that’s the biggest advantage I see going into this fight. And I would say, is his wrestling a concern? You have to respect his wrestling. He’s an Olympic gold medallist in wrestling, and for me to not respect it would make me stupid and naïve. But if that’s the fight that’s going to be made, then we will get after it and hope for the best.”
On fighters standing up for more pay and Aljamain Sterling deserving to be told why he’s not earning as much money as Sage Northcutt
“We’re at that age now where fighters are asking for more, asking what they believe they are worth. You’ve got a guy like Aljamain Sterling. Perfect example. Aljamain Sterling, he’s undefeated as a bantamweight and his last fight he made 24,000 dollars, took on a tough Brazilian, ended up finishing him. And then you have a guy like Sage Northcutt – and I don’t dislike any of these guys, I’m just pointing out facts and telling the truth. You’ve got a guy like Sage Northcutt, who made 80 g’s and it was his, what, Second or third fight in the UFC? I hadn’t even heard of Sage Northcutt until he jumped in the UFC, so the UFC made Sage Northcutt the man he is. That’s why he’s so popular, cause they MADE him that popular. Like the UFC makes stars.”
“I feel that Aljamain Sterling hit it on a couple of good points, like he was like ‘dude, like what’s the difference between me and Sage Northcutt? Like, what’s the difference? Why is he getting 80 grand and I’m getting 24,000 dollars? I’m undefeated’. And I think it’s right by the UFC to go ‘dude, this is why Sage is getting 80 grand and this is why you’re getting 24,000 dollars; and just be upfront about it.”
“I think it’s right that somebody tells him why he’s not making as much money as Sage Northcutt, because the guy’s undefeated”