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Mighty Moment

“He's a great fighter and always comes ready to fight,” Johnson stated. “He has great wrestling and hits hard. He's ready to try and take my title. It's going to make for a good fight because I don't go down easy. I don't go down without a fight and I think that right there is good enough for people to tune in.”

Demetrious Johnson knows he only has so many years left to ply his trade in the fight game.
 
Though he's merely 27 years old — and has already firmly etched his name in the record books as the inaugural UFC flyweight champion — Johnson is ready to entertain opportunities outside the octagon. In doing so, he hopes to take a page from women's bantamweight titleholder Ronda Rousey by filming movies between bouts.
 
“Ronda Rousey was in The Expendables 3, then she fought Miesha Tate, then she did Entourage and now she's doing Fast & Furious 7,” Johnson told UFC.ca during a phone interview. “So she's found the perfect balance in her career.
 
“I mean, who knows, I might be a horrible actor. The only way to find out is if you try it.”
 
Johnson admitted his desire to explore the silver screen is at least partly due to his lengthy layoff between fights.
 
The 125-pound kingpin's most recent outing saw him deliver one of the most vicious knockouts of 2013 when he starched Joseph Benavidez with a beautifully-timed right hook in December. He now looks to net his fourth consecutive title defence when he meets heavy-handed striker Ali Bagautinov in the main event of UFC 174 in Vancouver, B.C. June 14.
 
Johnson said he could easily jump from a film set back into full-time training without missing a beat.
 
“I think I'm ready for it,” Johnson began. “I could go act for maybe two months and then I've got another four months to get ready for a fight, which is way more time than I need. So there's a lot of downtime between my fights and it doesn't hurt to look into doing different things.
 
“Obviously there weren't a lot of No. 1 contenders in the division with me beating Joseph, John Dodson, John Moraga and Ian McCall. So there wasn't a No. 1 contender. I think the UFC wanted to put me on ice a little bit. I fought three times last year — that's more than any other champion recently.”
 
Though growing his name value is a big motivator, Johnson's key focus remains providing for his family. This past July, he and his wife, Destiny, welcomed their first-born son, Tyren.
 
Of course, should 'Mighty Mouse's' star continue to rise, further stability for his loved ones will surely follow.
 
Johnson said he hasn't let the pressures of fatherhood encroach upon his duties as champion.
 
“My wife is a stay-at-home mother and she does a fantastic job watching my son while I'm training,” Johnson said. “She knows how important my training is when I'm getting ready for my fights. So it hasn't really changed a lot. Obviously when I'm out of the gym and at home I'm hands-on with my son and spending time with family. Other than that, it really hasn't changed.
 
“Obviously you want to train your butt off. That way you can make good money and provide for them. Other than that, it's my career and I've been doing it for a long time now. So now having another mouth to feed makes it a little more serious, but I try not to let the emotion of that get to me. I try to go out there and do my best.”
 
When it comes to establishing himself as a draw in mixed martial arts, UFC 174 could represent a watershed moment for Johnson. The card marks his first time headlining a pay-per-view event.
 
Thankfully for Johnson his name has been bolstered by three stunning performances on FOX cards in 2013. On top of knocking out Benavidez, he topped Dodson in a thrilling war and dispatched Moraga with a slick fifth-round armbar.
 
Johnson feels his showings on FOX will translate to pay-per-view buys, but said his biggest concern is simply getting the job done against Bagautinov.
 
“I just try not to think about it and let it happen naturally,”Johnson said. “Obviously this is my first pay-per-view and I hope it sells very well, but at the end of the day I'm just going to go out there, fight and compete. Hopefully people want to tune in and watch me fight. It's going to be a great fight. Ali Bagautinov is a great fighter and is coming off a three-fight win streak in the UFC.”
 
A talented Combat Sambo fighter, Bagautinov has been on a tear since debuting with the UFC in September. Following an impressive TKO victory against Marcos Vinicius, he secured consecutive decision wins over Tim Elliott and John Lineker to earn a flyweight title shot.
 
Johnson said he and Bagautinov will give fans their money's worth.
 
“He's a great fighter and always comes ready to fight,” Johnson stated. “He has great wrestling and hits hard. He's ready to try and take my title. It's going to make for a good fight because I don't go down easy. I don't go down without a fight and I think that right there is good enough for people to tune in.”
 
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The mixed martial arts world is still buzzing following newly-crowned UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw's spectacular upset over Renan Barao.
 
Despite being a heavy underdog going into UFC 173 this past Saturday, Dillashaw put on a striking clinch en route to a fifth-round TKO victory.
 
Though many were shocked by Dillashaw's dismantling of Barao, UFC flyweight titleholder Demetrious Johnson was hardly surprised by the outcome.
 
“I knew Dillashaw was going to bring a fight like that,” Johnson told UFC.ca. “That's how Dillashaw fights all the time. Dillashaw, out of the Team Alpha Male guys, he's one of the best fighters. He puts it together very well with the wrestling, feints, movement, angles — he does that all very well. So I kind of knew when he was going in to fight Renan Barao that it was going to be a great fight. I knew T.J. was going to bring the fight to him.
 
“You've seen with Renan Barao's last opponents they kind of wait back and respect him, but I knew T.J. was going to go fight him. You've seen it in all his previous fights.”