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Demetrious Johnson Discusses his Upcoming Fight Against Miguel Torres, and…Tetris?

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In February, at UFC 126, rising star Bantamweight, Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson, burst onto the mainstream scene by beating "Kid" Yamamoto in a one-sided decision victory. DJ was kind enough to take a quick break from training to talk with me. When I asked him about the impact of winning the Yamamoto fight, he had this to say:

"The win put me on the map and gave me a little bit more respect from the fans. Before that fight, everybody was saying I was gonna get knocked out, and a whole bunch of other stuff. They said I was gonna get submitted, etc. So it made people respect me a little bit more. That fight against Yamamoto was a key point in my career."

Johnson has a big fight coming up at UFC 130 against ex-WEC Bantamweight Champ (and notoriously not funny tweeter) Miguel Torres. I asked him how he felt about being viewed as the underdog in the fight again.

"People are going to look at me however they perceive me. If I go out there and win or do well in the fight, people will probably say ‘Ah, Torres was in a slump’, or whatever. If I lose, people will say, ‘See? Mighty Mouse isn’t up to that level of competition. He needs to fight at 125.’ It all depends on how the public sees me."


Currently, the UFC does not have a Flyweight (125 lbs) Division. It seems that whenever the prospect of such a division opening up comes up in conversation, Johnson is always one of the first fighters whose name is brought up as a possibility. He has said, in the past, that he’s not sure that's a move he’d like to make. He talked to me about some of the pro’s and con’s of a such a proposed move.

"The con’s would be that I’d have to go on a new diet. I’m currently walking around at about 141 (pounds), and I’m able to feed my body and give it what it needs to perform at a high level. I just don’t think it would be healthy to drop 20 pounds to fight at a weight I don’t normally fight at. I’m feeling good at 135 right now."

I asked Demetrious how he felt about the idea of teammates fighting each other, as well if he would ever fight a training partner. This was his response:

"I think if the price was right (I’d fight a teammate). We fight all the time in the gym. Why not get paid for it? I look at it from a career standpoint, and would have to ask, ‘Do we need to fight each other?’"

The landscape of MMA changed drastically a couple months ago when Zuffa purchased Strikeforce. Johnson weighed in on how he felt about the purchase, and the impact he thinks it will have on the sport.

"When Zuffa bought Strikeforce, I was shocked. But I think it’s a great thing for the organization. I hope Zuffa scraps Strikeforce and makes it one, huge organization, like the NFL. I would love to see Alistair Overeem fight Junior dos Santos. Who knows? Maybe when they bring all the guys over (to the UFC), they can leave Strikeforce just for women’s MMA. I think the sky’s the limit. Dana White and the Fertitta brothers know what they’re doing."

I’m always interested in hearing who fighters like to watch and model themselves after. We forget sometimes that fighters are fight fans too. According to Johnson, he’s a big ‘Scarface’ fan.

"My favorite fighter to watch is Jose Aldo. I enjoyed his last fight. I thought he looked good and had some good combinations. He had a really long layoff (between fights). I think he showed that he (Aldo) can overcome adversity, and he’s still got it. I can’t wait to see him fight again."

Those of you who follow him on Twitter (@MightyMouseUFC) know that Demetrious is a big gamer. He spends a lot of time on XBOX Live, and is even known to game online with his fans from time to time. I asked him about what kind of games he liked to play, and his feelings on gaming in general.

"I really love RPG’s (role playing games) that have really good stories and backgrounds, because I can get into them and see myself in the scenario. I’m a huge fan of the Final Fantasy games. I love the stories. The one I’m into right now is the ‘Dead Space’ series. It’s a fantastic game, and very well put-together."

Demetrious is also engaged. I asked him how "Ms. Mouse" feels about his gaming, and how they make that work.

"We play a little bit, here and there. We play Tetris. When we first got XBOX, she had ‘Tetris Splash’. One night, she was playing, and I had to go to bed because I was getting up early the next morning. I told her not to stay up too late (playing Tetris). She said ‘Ok, I won’t. This is my last game.’ Later, I get up out of bed to get something to drink. It was like in the morning. She was sitting there, wide awake with her eyed wide open, playing Tetris! So yeah, she’s a huge Tetris fan. We also play XBOX 360 Kinect sometimes."

As a Bantamweight, the eventual goal for Johnson has to be the championship. Two of the guys he may end up fighting for that honor (Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz) are going against each other at UFC 132 in July. Demetrious told me how he felt about all the pre-fight "banter" that’s been going on between the two fighters.

"I think it’s cute (laughs). They’re going back and forth, and it’s gonna hype up the fight. I think they really have some beef between each other. It is what it is. There’s gonna be fighters you like, and fighters that you don’t like. After me and (Brad) Pickett fought, we were cool with each other. We hung out at the UFC Summit. We talk a lot. But after I fought Nick Pace, I never talked to him. Damacio Page: I never talk to him. ‘Kid’ Yamamoto: I never talk to him. It all depends on the type of person you are, and who you’re fighting."

I asked Demetrious who he would pick in the fight if he had to put money on it. It was obvious that he was pained over having to choose, but he finally broke down.

"That’s a tough decision. If I had a gun to my head, and I had to say, I’d have to go with Dominick Cruz. I believe in the way he moves, and how he uses that movement to avoid strikes. I think he’s at a place in his career now where he understands what he has to do to win. I think he has the tools to beat Urijah. You know, Urijah and Joseph (Benavides) fight similarly. He (Cruz) beat Joseph and he beat him twice. I think Urijah and Joseph are like twins in the way that they fight. Urijah might be a little stronger and a little bit faster (than Benavides), but I think Joseph is more technical and more patient. If I had to bet on it, I would choose Dominick Cruz."

Demetrious’ final shout outs:

"Thanks to all my fans and family for supporting me. Big shout out to XBOX 360. I have a partnership with them. There’s a lot of exciting things that will be happening in the future. Big shout out to Universal. All my coaches and guys I train with. Matt Hume. Yeah. Don’t miss out on May 28th. Spike TV’s prelims! Don’t miss it!"

I won’t. You shouldn’t either. We appreciate Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson for his time, his candor, and for being an overall good dude. I’m gonna go play some Tetris.          


by Kevin Haggerty
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