Friend of our site

MMA Headlines


Josh Gross

MMA Fighting

MMA Torch

MMA Weekly

Sherdog (News)

Sherdog (Articles)


Liver Kick

Fightsport Asia

Caged In

MMA Junkie

MMA Mania

Bloody Elbow



MMA Ratings

Rating Fights

MMA Convert


Fight Medicine


MMA Frenzy


Kevin Iole

Yahoo MMA Blog

MMA Betting

Search this site

Latest Articles

News Corner

MMA Rising

Audio Corner


MMA Dude Bro

Sherdog Radio

The Fightworks Podcast

Eddie Goldman

Pro MMA Radio

MMA Torch

Video Corner

Fight Hub

The Fight Nerd

Special thanks to...

Link Rolodex

Site Index

To access our list of posting topics and archives, click here.

Friend of our site

Buy and sell MMA photos at MMA Prints

Site feedback

Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

Site Meter

« | Home | »

The wrong weight, the wrong attitude, the wrong time for Demetrious Johnson in the UFC

By Zach Arnold | September 7, 2015

Print Friendly and PDF

As technically skilled of a champion in modern day Mixed Martial Arts, Demetrious Johnson unfortunately doesn’t fit in the current zeitgeist that is UFC.

He isn’t trademarking and barking phrases like “do nothing bitch.” He isn’t writing Internet rants about women and yoga. He isn’t a domestic batterer. He doesn’t talk about his opponents in terms of prison rape. He’s not, at least to anyone’s knowledge, a steroid abuser. He’s also under 145 pounds.

In today’s marketplace, that’s a recipe for not drawing paying customers, let alone respect amongst UFC’s heavily pro-wrestling dominated audience base. They want loud, they want crass, they want over-the-edge, and they want Lightweight-or-higher size.

Henry Cejudo is the last real test on the horizon for Demetrious Johnson. Cejudo would be UFC’s marketing dream, at least on paper. Perhaps he could pull off the impossible and make a sub-145 pound weight class a household division. Probably not, though.

In a perfect world where there was real global MMA competition, especially in Japan, Demetrious Johnson would have significant more opportunities to build his reputation up as a star. He would have been a perfect fit in PRIDE. Even though the Takanori Gomi-led Bushido series didn’t draw as well as the main PRIDE cards, the Bushido events still drew enough attention and produced some outstanding fights. With the Japanese space largely in a vacuum due to the crackdown on dark money & TV shareholders nervous to step back into the void, guys like Demetrious Johnson and Bibiano Fernandes don’t have the financial opportunities as other champion fighters do. They come into the sport with some marketing disadvantages and on a UFC-type stage, those disadvantages become magnified. Thanks to UFC’s deal with Reebok, Microsoft is paying the company and not the fighter to advertise their product.

UFC can no longer afford to put Demetrious Johnson fights in main event slots on cards. It’s a shame, too, because he can be a finisher but the fans are now conditioned to believe that the smaller, faster fighters simply go the distance. The bathroom break portion of the show.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 8 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

8 Responses to “The wrong weight, the wrong attitude, the wrong time for Demetrious Johnson in the UFC”


    I agree. I’ve been watching MM the last few times, and he’s really good. I have warmed up to him and Edgar. He’s a respectful guy who uses the current cage rules to perfection. And I respect that.
    Really the “people” who don’t like him are not really mma fans, rather they are fairweather stand and bang fans who are easily titillated by the pre fight boast fests. They buy the hype Dana sells, and therefore are wolf ticket buying drunken dummies that dana complains about.
    That said, its never been a good idea to have him headline any PPV. Like ive said every PPV should have 2 championship bouts. One at 155 or below and the main event should be at 170 or higher, or be a Rousy squash match.

    Speaking of RR… she sells because she’s a dominatrix. Guys love the idea of her putting them in their place, and women go crazy with empowerment empathy. Pretty much every outlandish outfit she wears has loads of straps, strings, cut outs and is black. RR doesn’t dress like a typical woman or athlete or actress, she just needs a whip and hand cuffs to complete the image..

  2. dave says:

    The UFC doesn’t even pay him like a champion. The yoga mat thrower made more money than the, UFC’s words, PFP greatest fighter.

    The UFC is treating him poorly by making him the headliner, put him on the Conor v Aldo card and give him ppv points. Don’t pay him less than other people below him on the card and also take away his sponsor money and keep it for yourself. I wonder if Paige made more than him with her Reebok sponsorship?

    • DIAZ'S PACKED BOWL says:

      Dana and the frattatas are cheap lying sobs. Thats why Pulver and penn left back before they tightened up their contractsBJ and Pulver both made a huge amount more than ufc was paying. MM is stuck there even though he could make twice the pay in ONEfc or in japan and keep his microsoft sponsership. UFC is cost cutting by #1 throwing out WAY more lw and below fights and #2 limiting the HW figts and even lying about Werdum not wanting to fight until march. The ufc just doesn’t want to pay any more than they have to. And in order to do that they want YOU the viewer to mire through crummy card after crummy card while they sit back and count their money.

  3. rst says:

    “It’s a shame, too, because he can be a finisher but the fans are now conditioned to believe that the smaller, faster fighters simply go the distance.”

    I honestly have never seen a DJ fight becasue I just dont watch the LW’s, BW’s, FW’s or chick-MMA. I dont even watch Aldo’s fights anymore after he became a decision machine in the UFC. Nothing ever coerces me to watch these divisions other then Pettis and now Dos Anjos becasue Pettis is notoriously unpredictable and exciting and DA just mauled him.

    The fact just is that the lighter weight classes are less prestigious and they cant cruise to decisions for the same recognition as the larger weight classes can. Thats just the nature of things becasue the world aint equal. They just have to put in the extra effort to try harder to draw attention. I dont care for talking isht and acting like a jerk, although that does seem to work with a lot of people, but work on his kickboxing or something. He’s apparently got the wrestling thing down just fine.

  4. Jeff Montelongo says:

    The reason DJ isn’t drawing is b/c he can’t connect with the fans or viewers. In every single interview he always gives the boring, bland, clichéd, mind-numbing, rehearsed monotone crap with zero redeeming value whatsoever that doesn’t give the fans or viewers reason to give a shit about him or his fights. He even comes off as if he’s intentionally trying to lack personality as much as he possibly can out of irony. Machida (who was at one time before his UFC debut the most boring fighter on the planet both in the cage and out of the cage right next to Shields and Fitch) has the broken English barrier and rarely speaks, but he was still able to get over with the fans as a legit star by the way he carries himself just when does his walkout, and not to mention Cain as well. Some fighters are able to get over despite their lack of promo skills and for some fighters just can’t get over on their lack of mic skills. Double standards? You betcha, but having a double standard makes sense as long as there are different kinds of fighters and with different personalities.

    “Johnson unfortunately doesn’t fit in the current zeitgeist that is UFC.”/”In today’s marketplace, that’s a recipe for not drawing paying customers”
    What do you mean in today’s marketplace and current zeitgeist? Marketing fighters & fights today is not very different, if any, then it was since pretty much from the very beginning of Zuffa, or maybe by “current” you were referring to anytime in the last 15 years.

    “He would have been a perfect fit in PRIDE.”
    Oh yeah? Ask Sesn Sherk how that worked out for him.

    Promoters can only do so much in marketing a fighter and trying to make him a star, in the end it all depends on the fighter himself whether or not he’s willing to do what it takes to make people give a fuck. Does being a smaller/lighter fighter hurt? Sure, especially considering how so many people think Rousey could defeat every top ten male fighter at the same weight as hers. How many drunk college douchebags watching a DJ main event at a frat house think to themselves or say to their friends “I think I could take that midget. Seriously, I’m 6′4″ and 250 lbs, I could totally take him”? DJ likes to present himself as this honest, straight-edge, clean cut legitimate athlete but the fans don’t give a shit, there are so many other boring no nonsense athletes giving interviews on another channel in another sport.

    Something tells me you’re friends with the guy. Whatever, to each his own.

    • Jeff Montelongo says:

      And you can also make an argument DJ’s own inability to become a bigger star & draw real money is actually hurting title challengers in his division and other guys on the main card. Ask a #1 contender whether they rather fight someone like DJ where 1/2 the audience are leaving the arena at the end of the 2nd round or fight a miniature 125 lb version of Chael Sonnen or Conor MacGregor. Ask other guys on the main card DJ is headlining whether they would rather fight on a card that’s going to draw 1 million in PPV buys where the fight bonuses are bigger and there’s possible exposure to a wider audience, or fight on a show on basic cable where DJ is defending his title against someone casual fans never even heard of.

      • DIAZ'S PACKED BOWL says:

        Well then by all means strip that little champion because he lacks personality. And while your at it, strip wideman werdum Lawler and get rid of cain, since they are all monosyllable interviewees who do their talking in the cage. Better yet give them all irish nicknames and send them to trash talking school so the greedy sobs can generate more profit.

        You fairweather fans have lost touch of what martial arts is and how it should be portrayed.

  5. Nepal says:

    5 more full rounds from DJ. Come on, how many hard cores watched the full 25 minutes? I watched the first 2 rounds because I was hoping Dodson could do what he did last time, but this time with more cardio. Rounds 3,4,5 I just fast forwarded through. Just can’t do it. I can never watch more than 2 rounds of a DJ fight, too boring. I know he’s great and all that but nothing happens. People barely get their faces marked up, knock downs almost never (Dodson excepted), submissions happen so rarely, we had to wait 24+ minutes to see one last time. What’s the point? Great footwork for 25 minutes and nothing else…. every time.

    At least with the 35’s, you’ve got Dillashaw hurting people and with the 45’s you’ve got Conner with both his mouth and his KO’s. If we could have that with the 25’s, then cool but watching DJ bounce for 25 minutes is agonizing. It’s painful and I watch almost every fight on every card and just fast forward through the boring ones, which include every DJ fight.

    I also don’t watch WMMA unless Rhonda is fighting.It’s fast and I know I don’t have to watch low level fighters for too long. Actually I watch Paige too because she’s hot.

    Right now the state of the 25’s and WMMA is horrible. No, we should not put DJ on a card with Conner so he can get his ppv points. He does nothing to drive company sales, he’s boring as fuck, inside and outside the company. Let’s not pretend UFC is a meritocracy, it’s a business and you get paid based on what you bring to the company. DJ… ok forget it, I’ve said enough.


To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-spam image