Spotlight? What spotlight? If Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson is feeling the glare, he sure isn't letting it show.
Johnson (16-2-1, 2-1-1 UFC), the UFC's first and reigning flyweight champion, appears to be staying quite cool ahead of his first career title defense. Johnson and challenger John Dodson will fight for the strap Jan. 26 in the main event at UFC on Fox 6.
"No, not at all," Johnson said when asked about pressure during a UFC on Fox media conference call held Tuesday and covered by Bleacher Report MMA. "I think every fight's the same."
Johnson's calm is noteworthy amid the runup to what is unquestionably a high-profile and high-stakes event. In addition to being Johnson's first defense, it is the first time flyweights will headline a major UFC card.
Historically, MMA's lightest weight classes have struggled to earn appreciation and attention from fans, who gravitate toward the heavy artillery at the top of the divisional food chain. What's more, UFC on Fox 6 has a tough act to follow, as it comes on the heels of a Fox event that delivered the goods both in action and ratings.
Does Johnson worry about expectations, or that his weight class sometimes gets lost in the shuffle?
"I think the UFC has done a great job promoting the lighter weight divisions and giving us this stage on Fox," Johnson said during the media conference call. "It doesn’t matter. I’m getting in there to fight."
Fighting and training seem to be the only things on Johnson's mind these days. Trappings and reflection can wait for another day and time.
"I'm just focused on staying healthy and getting better," Johnson said. "Five, six years down the road, I still plan on being dominant. I hope everyone looks at me as one of the best fighters."
Scott Harris is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.
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