I loved WEC. Why did I start with that? Because it was where I could get my fill of the lighter weight classes doing work. Sure there were a few other organizations showcasing the little guys, but WEC was where the cream of the crop were. The only thing missing from their roster were the flyweights. If you wanted to see flyweights, you more than likely had to catch it via a grainy, constantly buffering stream online somewhere.
Then, the UFC absorbed WEC, which made a lot of us old fogie types whine for a good two or three days, because you know how us old fogies are, we hate change. WEC NEVER DIE! Sorry, I had to get that out there. Back to the business at hand ... If you were a bonafide flyweight, and you wanted to fight in the big show, you ended up having to fight at 135.
That's just how things were until March 2, 2012 when the UFC held their first flyweight fights via a four man tournament that would eventually see Demetrious Johnson emerge as the champion later on that year. That title has remained with Johnson since then, and tomorrow night, will be put to the test for the second time when 'Mighty Mouse' meets John Moraga in the main event of UFC On Fox 8.
I recently sat down with Demetrious for a quick interview and got his take on fighter pay and his thoughts on the the toughness of the flyweight division leading to the lack of finishes. Here's what he had to say:
I want to give a little background about where I started from. When I first started, I was fighting for five and five. $500 to fight, $500 to win. Making it into the big show, which was WEC at the time, I was fighting for 3 and 3. $3000 to show and $3000 to win. After that, I went up, even after I lost my first fight under the biggest organization in the world, with the UFC. I also got discretionary bonuses. My purses have gone up every time. I can't complain at all.
I love what the UFC has done for me. It's changed my life tremendously. I am able to do what I love for a living, and my wife doesn't have to work. You've got to start somewhere, and I started at the bottom. I'm not at the top yet, but I plan to keep at it and keep climbing until I get there. I think Dana White is doing the best that he can to keep everybody happy and I think he's doing a great job.
GSP goes out there and he's very explosive and entertaining. He's a master at his craft. I mean, if the opportunity to finish presents itself, I'm gonna jump all over it. You just have to consider who my last four or five opponents have been, and look at the big picture. From Dominic Cruz all the way to John Dodson, none of those guys have ever been finished. The guys that I'm fighting are the best of the best. They're the cream of the crop.
Then you look at the middleweight division, and you have guys in there with a lot of losses. Obviously there's a bigger pool there, but if you were to do the math of guy getting finished, you're going to see like 14%, where if you do that with the flyweight division, you're going to see a much lower ratio. Remember though, anything can happen in an MMA fight.
You can follow Demetrious via his Twitter account, @mightymouseufc