Nothing is worse than having unfinished business. When a fight goes to a draw, the athletes aren’t the only ones that don’t get that sense of closure, the fans are left in much the same way. Fans invest time and money into ensuring they get to see their chosen favorite’s fights, so a draw can be as unacceptable as a loss. Fortunately, rematches remedy that, and this Friday night, the much anticipated rematch between Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall will provide a possible end to their story. This will be the first flyweight bout to ever headline a UFC card. In a recent interview, I caught up with Mighty Mouse to get his thoughts leading into fight night.
Stephie Daniels: You recently got married. How has married life been treating you?
Demetrious Johnson: Married life is treating me good. I have a very supportive wife. She’s been with me since the beginning of my amateur career. I trained like twice a day, every day in Hawaii when we were there for our wedding, and I even got to train once that day.
Stephie Daniels: I recently heard a story about a baby you encountered that had a mustache. What’s the story behind that?
Demetrious Johnson: [laughs] So, me and my wife were going out to this frozen yogurt place, it was like a midnight snack or whatever. We saw this little baby, and it had like an Uncle Creepy mustache on it’s face. It wasn’t like it was drawn on, but like a little on that you put around a kid’s head and the mustache shows on the face. I was like, ‘Babe, look at that mustache. I should beat the living hell out of that little baby.’ She was like, ‘Don’t you say that!’ So I was like, ‘Alright then.’
Stephie Daniels: Do you feel a little frustrated that Joseph Benavidez came down from 135, fought once at flyweight, and beat a relatively unknown opponent, then was immediately ranked at number one?
Demetrious Johnson: No, not at all. It was my first time fighting at 125, except my second fight as an amateur. I think he deserves it. He knocked out Yasuhiro Urushitani and it just shows that he’s a killer and deserves that number one spot right now.
Stephie Daniels: What do you plan on changing from the last fight to this one coming up, to ensure that it doesn’t go to a draw again?
Demetrious Johnson: The difference in this fight and the last one, is that I’m in a better place in my life. Not that I was in a horrible place last time, but just the change from a ten day trip to a four day trip is a lot better. I got to train in Hawaii, and was able to get away from the normal training camp, and that was almost like a breath of fresh air. I feel focused and I’m happy. I’ve just got to get in there and let my hands go and let my wrestling go, and just go to work.
Stephie Daniels: Since the last fight, I haven’t seen any type of bad blood or anything. Have there been instances of something Ian might have said or done to get under your skin, or it’s been smooth sailing the whole time?
Demetrious Johnson: No, not at all. We carry ourselves very well. We both know it’s business in this sport, and I think we’re both just ready to be done with it so we can move on to the next chapter of our careers. I have no animosity towards him. He’s a nice guy.
Stephie Daniels: Where do you feel his advantage might be in this fight, and conversely, where do you feel you will have the advantage?
Demetrious Johnson: Well, I feel the advantage that he probably has is that we fought once before, so he knows how I fight and how my speed works. I have to be aware that he’s dealt with me before, so I’ve got to go out there and show new stuff, show areas that he hasn’t been before. I’ve got to be on top against him, so I can see how good his grappling is.
My mind is like my biggest weakness. My coach always tells me that I can beat anybody in the world, and that the only thing that stops me is my mind. It’s like my biggest enemy. This time, I think I’ve got my mind in check. I always try to go out there and fight the perfect fight, and I forget that it’s an actual fight.
If you’re in the bar and about to fight someone, you can’t be like, ‘Hold up. Let me get my footwork together. Let me get my hand wraps on.’ This time I’ll use my athletic ability, my reactions and my eight weeks of training camp.
I was trying to fight without making mistakes. I wasn’t really going for the kill. In MMA, if you make a mistake, you’re going to be done for. This is a winner’s sport. If you make a huge mistake, you’re going to pay a price for it. Sometimes I will let myself go in the last round, but this time I’m ready to go out there and leave it all in the octagon.
Stephie Daniels: How excited are you to be one of the first flyweights to headline a UFC card?
Demetrious Johnson: I think we’ve come pretty far. This is the first ever flyweight main event in the UFC. I think it’s nice for Ian McCall to get the spotlight, because it’s a whole different stage he’s fighting on now. I just think we’re going to keep on going from here.
Stephie Daniels: How did you get yourself out of that perfectionist mode you were in?
Demetrious Johnson: My coach told me, ‘You’re very athletic, and your reactions alone will get you out of tight spots. You can make a huge mistake and still be able to come back from it just because you’re so athletic.’ For me, just honestly believing in that helps me. Now, I’m just going to go out there and let my body do what it needs to do. When I first started in this sport, I had a toolbox, and all I had in it was a monkey wrench. But now, since I’ve been training for six years, I’ve got all these different tools to get the job done.
Follow Demetrious via his Twitter, @MightyMouseUFC
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