Following Dominick Cruz's impressive title win against T.J. Dillashaw, Matt Hume took to social media to call for a fight between the new champion and his star pupil, Demetrious Johnson. The UFC flyweight champ was a recent guest with Submission Radio, and he explained the call-out.
"We’ve always wanted to fight Dominick Cruz again," Johnson explained. "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... 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."
Johnson of course knows that the bout is likely still a ways down the road. He likely has Henry Cejudo first, while Cruz possibly has a trilogy with Urijah Faber after he recovers from his foot injury.
"First things first, I gotta make sure I can keep my belt and break Anderson Silva’s title defences. 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. (If) 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."
As for what would be different this time around, DJ says it mostly has to do with just being familiar with Cruz and his tricky style.
"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. 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 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. 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."
All that said, Johnson reiterated that he doesn't "need" to fight Cruz at a higher weight. He just wants to do it so he can get paid. In fact, it wouldn't matter whether it's Cruz or Cejudo next.
"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*cking 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 shit, 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."
As for how realistic a $2 Million payday would be for him, Johnson says the UFC can certainly afford it.
"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*cking notice that it’s gone," he said. "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 defenses (record), 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*cking 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."