Brett Johns: Getting paid my worth is why I switched from UFC to Bellator

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Brett Johns’s switch from UFC to Bellator may have come as a surprise to many, but it was an obvious move from his perspective.

The former Titan FC and Cage Warriors champion signed with Bellator last October on the heels of a successful UFC run that had many pegging him as a force to keep an eye on at 135 pounds.

Johns had competed seven times in the Las Vegas-based promotion, picking up five wins and two defeats. His only two losses came to top contender Pedro Munhoz and current UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling.

But when his contract with the UFC came to an end, the 29-year-old saw Bellator as the best option his career.

“Basically, in a nutshell, we looked at the contract after it was finished, and we looked back at our career with the amount of fights that we had, the people that we had fought, and financially things didn’t add up in our mind,” Johns told MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s Bellator 259 media day. “So we got on a call with the UFC and tried to renegotiate our contract and they didn’t feel like I was worth that money, but we knew I was.

“We looked at the other guys in the division, and there was a couple of guys who had similar fights, I wont name specific names, but there was a fighter who was 5-2 such as us, but I didn’t feel he had fought the caliber of competition that I personally did. He was making about $20,000 more.

“So we approached the UFC with that, and they turned around and said they weren’t willing to pay the money, so we tested the waters of free agency, and Bellator came up. I haven’t looked back since.”

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Although Johns made a financial move in his switch to Bellator, the Welsh fighter said he is not just coming in the organization to take a paycheck. Johns (17-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is still determined to become a contender and take the belt from current title holder Sergio Pettis. His quest to the title starts this Friday at Bellator 259 against Danny Sabatello (10-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA).

“There is no secret what I want to do, and that’s win the belt,” Johns explained. “Obviously there’s been a big financial gain, but I’m not just coming here to win fights and win money. Obviously I want to be the best in the world.

“I’ve won two world titles on other organizations, and it would be nice to add that third wrap on my waist. Right now, eyes are on Sergio Pettis, but the title picture can change in a year, year-and-a-half. At the minute he’s got a target on his back, and that’s who I’m aiming for. I’m hoping a win over Danny Sabatello will put me in that top 10, maybe another fight after that and we can get that Pettis fight.”