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Jordan Johnson: Decision to move from UFC to PFL is ‘bigger than me’

Jordan Johnson says he left the UFC and joined PFL in the best interests of his wife and son.

MMA: The Ultimate Fighter-Johnson vs Fortuna Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After his most recent fight, Jordan Johnson had a decision to make, and it ultimately came down to what was in the best interests of his family.

Johnson, an undefeated light heavyweight who went 4-0 in the UFC, signed with PFL earlier this year. He is set to make his debut with the promotion Thursday night at PFL 3, where he meets Maxim Grishin in his first regular-season bout.

Johnson fought out his UFC contract last September at UFC Moscow, where he submitted Adam Yandiev in the second round. Johnson said he was given the opportunity to re-sign with the UFC before that fight but declined in hopes of a better deal with a win. Even afterwards, Johnson said, he and UFC brass could not come to terms.

Johnson and his wife Stefanie had their first baby early last year; Johnson said the move to PFL from the UFC was based mostly on money. PFL offers $1 million to its tournament winners at the end of the playoffs, which run from October to December.

“They made me a great deal that I couldn’t say no to,” Johnson told Bloody Elbow. “One thing that I really like is that there are set dates. I’ll fight multiple times, and those dates aren’t changing. With other organizations, you sign a promotional agreement for four fights, you have no idea where those four fights are going to happen. And if you’re not fighting, you’re not getting paid. PFL, they keep you busy, they pay you well. And then if you do your job and you win your fights, at the end of the year you get a million bucks on top of everything else. So it’s a great fit for me.”

Johnson said he parted ways with the UFC on good terms. He enjoyed his time in the premier MMA promotion and has nothing bad to say about it. Having said that, ahead of the Moscow fight he had a feeling that one was going to be his last.

“I just felt I was worth a little bit more,” Johnson said. “So I thought I could fight out my contract, and if I put on a good performance, I might be able to get where I wanted to from a financial standpoint. I love the UFC, I love being in the UFC, I love everything about the UFC. But we couldn’t get there.

“Times change. I have a family. It’s bigger than me.

“Right now where I’m at in my life, I really just have to make as much money as possible, and PFL is the place for me to do it.”

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