UFC Champ Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson hoping to turn video game streaming into career after fighting

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Demetrious Johnson

UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is in the midst of his athletic prime at 29-years-old, but the extremely intelligent champion is already lining himself up for a career after fighting: video game streaming.

Johnson’s history as a gamer is widely known, with Microsoft’s Xbox brand being his primary sponsor for years, and in recent years he’s begun streaming his gaming sessions over Twitch. That’s where he caught USADA testers on camera recently while in the midst of a session, and in an interview this week with the Three Amigos podcast (via Iain Kidd and Stephie Haynes at BloodyElbow.com), Johnson talked about his plans to make that a viable job after fighting.

“I heard you could watch people play videogames, and that’s how I discovered Twitch,” Johnson said. “This is when I had Tyren, who is now two and a half years old. I would rock him to sleep at night, and he would take a while, so I downloaded the Twitch app to watch. I saw guys playing games I grew up with like Mega Man X and Zelda: Ocarina of Time. So after some time I started streaming some games on my PS4. I’d have like two viewers in there as I played Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn.

“Next thing you know, my wife was like, ‘You should get into it baby, what do you want to do after you’re done fighting? Why don’t you try streaming?’ Then Twitch reached out to me and told me everything I needed to get to be a serious streamer. All of the credit goes to my wife, she’s the one who suggested I do it. I decided if I was going to do it, I had to be 100% in. I didn’t want to do it half-assed and try to stream from my PS4 or Xbox One, so I bought a computer and she was all in, so I was like, ‘Let’s do it.’

“Since I’ve started streaming I spend at least 15 hours a week playing games, maybe more,” he continued. “My brain needs to be stimulated. I look at streaming like a side project, and I take my side projects and my jobs very seriously. Streaming on Twitch isn’t just about playing videogames, it’s about building a community amongst your fans. Right now most of my community is MMA fans, but I’m hoping to break down that barrier and attract the gaming community. I don’t just play first person shooters, I don’t just play the UFC game, I play Bloodborne, Dark Souls, Overwatch, Diablo, StarCraft.

“You have to think about what you’re going to do after your career. I’ve always thought about going back to work at a warehouse or whatever I need to do to make ends meet, but now streaming and video gaming is just kicking off. All I care about is the next game coming out next month. I’m still fighting, I’m in the prime of my career and train my ass off every single day, but I’m starting my second career now. Why not? I’m building my viewership and community now, so when I’m 38 years old and I’m done fighting I can have streaming as my main source of income, hopefully.”

Penick’s Analysis: There’s a lot more from “Mighty Mouse” on his history in gaming, streaming opposite Rampage Jackson, and more, so make sure to hit the links above to check out further transcripts from his podcast appearance or to listen in on the show itself. This is a really smart move for Johnson at this stage in his career. He’s got a lot of time left in fighting given not only his considerable skill set but his ability to avoid damage from his opponents, but seeing as how fighting is not necessarily a long-term career – and how his monetary earnings from the UFC aren’t necessarily what they could be – being prepared for what to do in the next stage of his life is huge. Just knowing what you want to do for a living is a hard thing for many to figure out, let alone figuring out what to do after your chosen career has come to an end. Johnson having a goal for when he’s done is a really good fall back to have, and something that too many fighters don’t have. That’s why so many continue to stick around and fight when perhaps they should not, because for many fighters it’s the only profession they know. Johnson’s clearly on the other end of that spectrum.

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