Mighty Mouse talks Cruz, headlining a UFC event
Back in the golden age of comics and cartoons, a diminutive superhero named Mighty Mouse made his way onto the scene.
The tiny mouse was often faced with crisis and much larger opponents, but his heart to fight always resulted in the day being saved. While UFC bantamweight Demetrius Johnson may not be spandex-clad, he steps into a well-known story line as he attempts to take the bantamweight title away from Dominick Cruz, a champion who has thus far seemed invincible, this weekend in Washington D.C.
“Cruz has the heart of a champion. He goes out to win every one of his fights even though he has been the top dog at 135 pounds for a while now. He feels he has a lot more to prove in this weight class which makes him very dangerous. When you have two guys who feel they need to prove something to the world you are looking at two dangerous men.
“For me, the biggest advantage I have in this fight is going to be my speed and my height. I plan on using both in this fight and just going out there and doing the best I can. I plan on showing the world the best “Mighty Mouse” there is on October 1st.”
Johnson earned the opportunity to fight for the bantamweight strap when he defeated former champion Miguel Torres at UFC 130 back in May. Despite being injured in the fight and dominating from top position, there was still a negative fan reaction after the decision was announced.
“I was very excited I got the win over Torres. Obviously there were some fans who saw it as controversial. I really don’t understand those things sometimes, but when it comes to controversy it is usually the fans opinion. I still get the haters who didn’t like the way the decision came out. They said I was just a lay and pray fighter amongst a few other things, so I just I deal with it as it comes.
“I broke my fibula in the beginning of the first round and when I went back to my corner and told my coach I was like “f**k!”. He told me that I still had another leg to work on and I knew I had a job to do, so I went out there and did it. I went out there, put Miguel on his back and just out positioned him.
“Torres threw up a lot of submissions and lucky that I didn’t get caught in any of them because if I had, maybe he would be in my position right now fighting for a world title. I kept good posture, fought off every submission and I pushed the pace the entire time. I came away with the victory and I am very happy with the results.”
Following the victory and the subsequent recovery, the UFC called with the news that Johnson would be facing Cruz at UFC on Versus 6. While he was excited to get the opportunity, Johnson kept from overwhelming himself by sticking to the grind.
“I was excited to get the title shot but it is just like any other fight. I have to go out there and train my butt off to get ready to go five rounds with Dominick Cruz. He’s a great champion. He’s proved time and time again that he is one of the best. He’s the champ and there is a reason for it.
“We amped camp up a lot this time with my conditioning and cross-fit training. I’ve been doing a lot of swimming as well. I stopped working my 40 hour a week job to prepare for this fight. I figured I owed it to myself, my fans and my family to put forth 110% in this camp to get myself ready to fight Dominick Cruz.”
“The motivation is the same going into every fight. Had this been a regular fight would I have quit my job-probably not. I have learned how to juggle family, work and fighting for some time now but I wanted to make sure my focus was on this opportunity.”
Since coming over to the main stage of the UFC, the lighter weights have yet to disappoint. They push a fast, action-packed pace and Johnson suggested this fight has the potential to raise that bar.
“It’s very possible this could be one of the fastest-paced fights the fans have ever seen. With that being said I could go out there and run into a flying knee and get knocked out or I could throw a high kick and knock Dominic Cruz out. The fight can go numerous ways and that is one of the beautiful things about mixed martial arts. You never know what is going to happen.”
“In boxing you know what is going to happen. The guys are going to come out, if they get dropped, they get a few seconds to recover. Either they get their legs back under them or they get knocked out. That’s basically how it is going to go. In MMA you can see a guy get heel hooked, arm barred, a head kick, a flying guillotine – so many things can happen in a fight and any of those things could happen in a fight between Dominick Cruz and I.”
The bout will mark several firsts for Johnson. Not only will it be his inaugural opportunity for a UFC title, but also the first time he will headline a card for the organization.
“As of right now headlining feels like any other fight, but I have been doing a lot more interviews than I normally would. My fiancé, Destiny is doing a great job of getting them scheduled but other than that this feels like any other fight I’ve gone into. I’m not going to put any extra pressure on myself because it is a world title fight. Obviously I know what it is and I’m going out there to perform at my very best. I’ve done all the right things in my training camp to prepare and the biggest difference is I’m the last fight of the night instead of the first. It feels good to see the lighter weights front and center. The bantamweight division should get the respect it deserves.”
“There is no reason why Brock Lesnar should be able to get a $400,000 pay out bonus. I understand he does certain numbers, but the bantamweights should have a chance at that type of money as well. What makes him different than me? Yes, he is bigger but he has only been doing MMA for two years. I’ve been doing this for six years. All I’m saying is that everybody should have a chance to make that type of money. Hopefully Dominick and I can help pave the way for all the 135’ers to get more exposure. Hopefully we’ll see more bantamweights on the main cards.
“I’m coming out there to fight my heart out. I’ll go till the bitter end and I want to be champion. I want another win under my belt and I know that Dominic Cruz is a great champion. I’m going to do everything in my power to take it to him, put him where he’s uncomfortable and get this done. He’s a very well rounded fighter but I’m ready to go. Fans aren’t going to want to miss this one.”