Demetrious Johnson talks about life as the champ, the skill of flyweights and more

Maggie Hendricks

At UFC 152, Demetrious Johnson became the UFC's first flyweight champion. He will attempt to defend that belt against John Dodson at UFC on Fox 6 in Chicago. He spoke with Cagewriter about the fight, life as the champion, and training during the holidays.

Cagewriter: How has life changed since becoming the champion?
Demetrious Johnson: Life has pretty much stayed the same. A lot more people are noticing me. Training is the same. It's still good.

CW: With people noticing you, have you had any weird fan encounters?
DJ: Actually yes. On my Facebook page, there's a guy from Belgium who fights in the Shooto Belgian League. He wants to fight me. I didn't respond, and he said, 'You're scared to fight me.' I didn't even say anything back to him.

CW: With your fight on Fox, casual fans will get to see flyweight fights. What should they expect?
DJ: Flyweights are the most exciting weight class in the UFC. We've got the cardio, the power, the technique, the speed. Fans say I want to see fights finished, but you're going to see great fights in general.

CW: What do you say to people who criticized the lighter weights?
DJ: You have to give us a chance. People are used to seeing heavyweights in boxing and seeing knockouts and all that. When you watch guys from 125-155, we're more skillful and tactical. It's harder for them to respect it. But in the long run, they can see it's smart.

CW: During your win over Joe Benavidez, fans booed and UFC heavyweight Pat Barry stood up and yelled at the booing fans on your behalf. Have you talked to Pat since then?
DJ: No, not at all, but I appreciate Pat doing that. It shows a lot of character. What he did was fantastic. People out there don't understand. Anyone out there who says, 'Flyweights suck,' I can run them through the ringer and show them what I do every day. Show them what's up.

CW: Were you aware of the booing during your fight?
DJ: I was aware a little bit of it. It just happened. You put into play that it was one of the last fights of the night. There was alcohol involved. People getting tired, and I think that's all part of it.

CW: After being an underdog in your last fight, you're a 3-1 favorite in this fight. Does that change anything for you?
DJ: Not at all. It doesn't change anything for me. It changes things for people outside the fight. I'm still focused. I still have to prove myself to the world and prove that I'm the no. 1 flyweight in the world.

CW: On another note, why do you wear neon green shorts?
DJ: One of my sponsorships with Xbox 360, and I wear the green for them. I wear the spandex because they're more comfortable. Everybody loves them. My lady appreciates them.

CW: Does the Xbox sponsorship mean you get games ahead of release date?
DJ: Sometimes I'll get them a few days early. Nothing crazy.

CW: The holidays fall smack in the middle of your training camp. How do you avoid all of the unhealthy treats of the season?
DJ: I'm pretty self-motivated person. I typically eat healthy year-round, so I just keep motivated and keep my eyes on Jan. 26.

CW: Finally, what are you asking Santa for?
DJ: Nothing. I pretty much have everything I want. As long as I have a roof over my head, I'm healthy and my wife is healthy, I can keep training, I'm happy.

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