UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is open to sharing the Octagon with bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw this summer -- but he does not believe Dillashaw is in his same class when it comes to a pound-for-pound discussion.
Johnson (27-2) is currently in talks to defend his 125-pound title against Dillashaw. The 11-time defending champion has stated he will accept the matchup, as long as the UFC books it on a major card.
Johnson, 31, is universally ranked the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and Dillashaw (15-3) previously told ESPN, "In my mind, as well as everyone else's mind that I've seen, this fight would be for the No. 1 pound-for-pound spot."
Does Johnson agree? Should this fight take place, would it determine the best fighter in the world?
"I think the reason I'm the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world is I beat everyone in my division," Johnson told ESPN while promoting EA Sports' UFC 3. "He's had close fights with guys in his division, like Raphael Assuncao. Dominick Cruz beat him. His last fight, against Cody [Garbrandt], he got dropped.
"It's a little different, especially when you're talking about a bigger guy going down to fight a smaller guy. I think the reason people put that label on me is I've beaten every single type of style and skill set that's come to me. I beat John Dodson twice -- TJ lost to Dodson."
"I've been a champion for five years. He hasn't been a champion for a year yet."
Either way, Johnson doesn't lose sleep over subjective pound-for-pound rankings.
He says he expects former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones -- who is currently provisionally suspended -- to leapfrog him to the No. 1 spot as soon as he returns. If that's the case, there's nothing he can do about it, so why stress over it?
But, if you want his opinion, there is a major difference between what he and Dillashaw have showcased in their respective careers, and the result of one night -- even if they're fighting each other -- won't change that.
"If he were to beat me, and everyone would say, 'Oh, he's the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world!' and the next thing you know, he gets knocked out in a bantamweight fight, I would say that 'reign' would be cheap. It's not warranted.
"The reason I have that label is my longevity as a champion and dominating higher competition. His fight against Cody wasn't a blowout, they exchanged and his punch landed. It wasn't like he dominated him in wrestling or jiu-jitsu. That's my personal opinion."