Demetrious Johnson wants big pay-per-view for Dillashaw fight

UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson strongly believes a potential fight against bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw should be on a "stacked card."

So much so, in fact, he won't accept it any other way.

"That's what the UFC wants," Johnson told ESPN. "It's the superfight everyone wants. I think TJ and I are both on board. We just want to make sure it's on a stacked card. We want to make sure we can benefit from a good pay-per-view buy. I think I deserve it, and I think he deserves it."

Johnson (27-2) is the longest reigning champion in UFC history and is widely considered the best fighter in the world.

Last summer, Dillashaw (15-3) expressed interest in dropping a weight class to challenge Johnson's title reign. The fight never came together, but it remains one of the most intriguing matchups the UFC could make in 2018.

Johnson, of Kirkland, Washington, says he's never turned down Dillashaw as an opponent, but he does have specific demands when it comes to the fight.

Namely, that it occurs on one of the UFC's marquee PPV events, which Johnson would draw a monetary bonus from.

"I'd rather have somebody else [be the] main event, who is going to bring in way more PPVs," Johnson said. "In my opinion, that's held up the fight on my end.

"I've seen guys jump on [stacked] PPV cards and make $1.5 million, fighting an inferior opponent than who I'm about to fight. Me and TJ could fight on a smaller card and pull 275,000 buys, get an extra check for $75,000. My management told me, 'You know what, we'll hold out for a big event.'

"A lot of media and fans think that's a way of turning down fights or ducking someone, but that's a way of being a smart businessman and getting the most money you can get. ... I'll wait for that opportunity, because in that one card, I'll basically make more money than three fights -- a year and a half of my life -- [combined]."

For the record, Johnson, 31, is hopeful the UFC will book the fight to a major card.

He actually started to prepare for the potential Dillashaw fight back in December, but his right shoulder flared up. He has since undergone surgery, but he is not expected to be out long.

Currently, he's eyeing the UFC's annual summer event in Las Vegas, which takes place on July 7, as a target date.

"If we can get three title fights -- a champions vs. champions edition -- that should do well," Johnson said. "If they did Georges St-Pierre vs. Tyron Woodley, Amanda Nunes vs. Cyborg [Cris Justino] and me vs. TJ, they can send me the contract. They can negotiate that contract now."

And if for any reason the UFC has other ideas for the bout, Johnson says he won't complain -- but he won't accept Dillashaw as an opponent on a smaller card.

"I'm straightforward," Johnson said. "If UFC comes back and says, 'You know what, Demetrious, we're not going to give you that,' I'll say, 'Perfect, send me the No. 1 contender in the flyweight division and TJ can stay up and fight whoever he wants.' That's how I am when it comes to this.

"I'm not going to sit here and f---ing argue. 'This is what I want. If you're not going to give it to me, that's fine. I'll just keep fighting guys in my division. You want to strip me? Fine, perfect. Strip me. I'll work my way back up the ladder.'

"I've beat everyone in my division. Now I'm waiting for my opportunity to be on the kind of card that makes that kind of money. And I'm not trying to piggyback off anyone else. I feel I bring a lot to the table -- 11 title defenses. I should get that opportunity. If people disagree, that's their problem. That's what I feel I am worth."