‘Mighty Mouse’ talks his move to flyweight, his upcoming wedding and his love of baking
In a brand-new feature here at HeavyMMA, our own Megan Olivi sits down with an elite fighter to talk about life inside and outside the cage.
This week, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson talks about his upcoming placement in the UFC's flyweight tournament and his drop from bantamweight, his preparation for his March 2 fight against Ian McCall, his upcoming wedding and his love of ... baking.
1) What was your reaction to the news that the UFC was going to create the flyweight division?
I was excited that they were adding the flyweight division. The other thing that came to mind was, "Dang it – I can’t have all the delicious food I usually eat" – my milkshakes and all the other delicious things.
2) Sounds like you worried about the weight cut? How is it going?
At first I was a little stressed out about it because it’s a little hard. You want to do it the right way – you want to make the weight. You don’t want to be like a fool and not look very professional when you go on stage to weigh in. So right now, I’m not stressed about it. I’ve got my coaches helping me with my weight and diet and stuff. I think it’s gonna come off pretty easy. But at first it was a little tough.
3) You're taking on Ian McCall in the first round of the flyweight tournament. What do you think of that matchup?
When I look at Ian McCall, I think he’s a great fighter. Right now he’s ranked No. 1 in the world in the flyweight division, and I think it’s going to be a very tough fight against him. I’m training twice a day, making sure my diet's good, going to make sure after the weight cut my body can run at 110 percent like I did at 135 pounds. It’s going to be a great fight for the fans and the UFC.
4) Some casual fans may only want to watch the feavyweight fights. What's the biggest reason to watch the flyweight tournament?
I think they should watch because you’re gonna have the best athletes in the world going head-to-head trying to make history to become the very first (UFC) flyweight champion. You’ve got me and Ian McCall on one side of the bracket, then you have Joseph Benavidez and Yasuhiro Urushitani on the other side of the bracket. The winner of those two fights will meet up in the end and decide who is the No. 1 flyweight in the world. And I think that’s awesome, especially because this first round is free on TV – FX. I wouldn’t wanna miss it. For anyone out there who aren’t fans or who are fans, don’t miss it.
5) What’s the biggest misconception about smaller fighters?
I think the biggest misconception with the smaller guys is, we do all the hard work that the heavyweights do – maybe even more then everybody else does. When we go out there to fight, we put our hearts on the line. We have the same desire to win just like everybody else does. Granted, we don’t have as many finishes – well knockouts or spectacular KOs. But we go out there and give it our all. And at this weight class, 125, everybody’s good, everybody’s in shape. There are no slouches at this weight class.
6) I hear you're getting married! When is the big day?
We get married May 11. Preparation of the wedding is going totally fine. I was originally scheduled to fight Eddie Wineland on the January 28 Fox card, but they pulled me off that card and booked me for March. It happened to be right before I leave for my wedding. It’s a little, not hectic, but my fiancee and me know we have a tough fight ahead of us, and I have a tough fight ahead of me. Gotta get through this fight, come back home and finish the last touchups for the wedding, then head off to Hawaii and get married.
7) What does your fiancée think of your career?
When we first met, I actually worked in a restaurant serving food – and she worked there as well. I was still an amateur, and she’s been with me ever since I was an amateur. She totally agreed with it and it just took off there. I met her probably seven years ago and we’ve been together five years. She loves it, and she’s happy to see me travel the world and wake up every day and do whatever I want to do – which is train and play video games and live life.
8) I know you recently left you 40-hour a week job. What’s it like to train full time now?
This is the first time in my whole entire career that I’m actually taking this, my job, and this profession completely serious. After my fight against Dominick Cruz, I lost, and (coach) Matt (Hume) was like, “You know DJ, it’s time for you to start taking your job seriously.” And I was like, “What do you mean, Matt?” And he goes, “Well you know, you’re professional and people who are professional at their craft do whatever they have to do to sharpen their tools. You’re not by my side every single day. You need to be in Kirkland (Wash.) all the time, not here Mondays and Saturdays.” Because when I was training for Dom, I would only train Mondays and Saturdays with Matt and the rest of the time on my own. But now I’m up here Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday-Saturday doing two-a-days doing cardio – a whole bunch of different stuff preparing for this fight. I don’t wanna say I didn’t take my last fight serious, but I am taking this a lot more serious and professional. I feel great; I can’t wait to get in there and fight.
9) When you aren’t training, from the looks of Twitter it looks like you’re trying your hand at baking.
I like to bake and try different stuff. My last project that I did was cocoa almonds. I was trying to think of something to snack on so I tried cocoa almonds. They came out pretty good – I mean it wasn’t good like the (Blue) Diamond ones because they have all the machines, but I think they came out pretty good. I’m actually going to try another batch. I wanna try cinnamon next. I am exciting people! I need to make my own television show like Martha Stewart or something. I’m like, “Hi, welcome to Mighty Mouse Baking. Today we are going to make some salmon with some baked cilantro so tune in at 3:30 today.”
10) Besides baking, what is the most surprising thing about ‘Mighty Mouse’ that fans might not know?
I think they’ll be surprised that I love to do other sports. Like I have a sweet paintball gun. I also have the top-of-the-line snowboard. After this fight, I am actually going to go to Canada – Whistler – to do some snowboarding. Hopefully I don’t break any bones in this fight. But yeah, I am a very active guy – I don’t like to just train. I know it’s my life and my job, but at the same time I like to go out and do other things as well – that are dangerous and can hinder my career, but at the same time you only get once chance at life. So I want to live it up.