The UFC announced this month that the 24th season of The Ultimate Fighter will crown a challenger for the UFC Flyweight Champion, who would then face that contender on the finale event in December. However, they didn’t consult with their current champion, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, who isn’t all too keen on the timetable should he successfully defend his title against Henry Cejudo later this month at UFC 197.
In an interview with Submission Radio, Johnson said a different timetable would make sense for himself and for that potential challenger out of TUF.
“I’m fine with having two fights this year, but I don’t want to wait all the way to December,” Johnson said. “I would, you know, I’ve told the UFC that I like to stay pretty active and I like fighting in September. That’s kind of like the schedule I’ve been on, fighting April and September. So I want to fight in September, then, you know, if they want to have me fight in February – you know, give the guy who won the Ultimate Fighter December off, then January, February, fighting in February, I’m happy with that. But I like to stay active. I don’t like to wait on people to be successful in this sport. Because at the end of the day, my timer and my age is getting up there. And the longer I sit on the shelf, the longer I’m not making money.”
Penick’s Analysis: The UFC’s penchant for making decisions without so much as consulting with fighters it might affect is a bit dehumanizing, as if they’re simply game pieces that can be placed on the board. That’s especially true when a champion is involved. Johnson as champion isn’t obligated to fight in December simply because that’s what the UFC announced, not if there was no discussion with him beforehand. Now, perhaps there can be some negotiation, get Johnson in the cage in August or early September and pay him a bunch more to turn around for December if that’s what they want. Indeed, if they want to get him on that finale card in December, they can guarantee him the type of payday that has yet eluded him inside the Octagon.
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