Dana White: Demetrious Johnson Never Got the ‘Love and Respect’ He Deserved
Demetrious Johnson was the longest reigning champion in UFC history and often times called the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, but he never made any serious headway as a draw either through pay-per-view or television ratings.
Now Johnson’s time with the UFC has come to an end after he was part of a historic deal that saw him traded to ONE Championship in exchange for Ben Askren.
As much as Johnson was lauded as one of the best fighters in the history of the sport, UFC president Dana White says he never really got the adoration he deserved from the audience because he just never seemed to connect with them the way that other fighters such as Jon Jones or Anderson Silva have done in the past.
White hopes Johnson is happier now with his new home at ONE Championship, where he will undoubtedly become one of the most promoted fighters on the entire roster.
“If you look at it, the kid broke the record for the most title defenses. I feel like he never really got the love and the respect that he deserved from the fans,” White said about Johnson when speaking to TMZ. “I don’t know if he was always thrilled being here. So hopefully he’s a lot happier where he’s headed now.
“His longtime trainer and coach [Matt Hume] is an executive over there, so maybe he’ll be happier over there.”
Johnson said in his introduction to ONE Championship that he felt he accomplished everything possible in the UFC and didn’t really need to go back to do it all over again after he lost his flyweight title in August to Henry Cejudo.
Rather than trying to seek out a trilogy after previously beating Cejudo by knockout, Johnson preferred to cut ties with the UFC and start fresh with a new fighting home.
Now he’ll join the ONE Championship roster with Johnson already having designs to become a multi-time defending champion to add even more to his overall legacy.