Demetrious Johnson (Pictured) is just one step away from achieving his ultimate aspiration. In order to give UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz the complete attention he deserves, “Mighty Mouse” had to quit his job so he could focus on his dream.
“I am not working full-time anymore,” Johnson shared during Monday’s conference call. “I gave that up once I got the call that I was fighting Dominick. I thought I owed it to the fans, my family and my training partners to train full-time.”
Most mixed martial artists aren’t pocketing boatloads of cash, especially when you’re a little known, lighter weight fighter. Johnson had been working construction prior to his decision to dedicate everything to MMA. Although a dirty construction site is hardly the ideal spot for an after party, the 25-year-old didn’t have much of a choice.
“I would go in at seven [in the morning] – sometimes five, depending on the day – and go there, run the forklift, dump scrap and carry construction tubes,” Johnson humbly said. “I did it for all my fights. So when I got home on Sunday, it wasn’t like ‘Woohoo, let’s go out and party.’
“I had to wake up and go to work the next morning at six o’clock. When I broke my leg against Miguel Torres [at UFC 130], I was at work that next Monday walking around the warehouse with a broken leg.”
Even though Saturday’s title bout against Cruz won’t take place on pay-per-view, he will still be headlining a UFC show, which has allowed him to garner larger sponsorship dollars. While he’s appreciated the opportunity to leave his labor-intensive gig, Johnson knows he could be punching the clock again if he doesn’t get to clocking his opponents.
“It’s always in the back of my head,” Johnson said of his do-or-die state. “I can go out here and get absolutely destroyed. The next thing you know, I fight again and get knocked out. I fight again and I get destroyed again and next thing you know … I might be back in the warehouse working somewhere.
“I’m just grateful to be a full-time fighter and I’m gonna go after it on Saturday. What do I got to lose? People don’t even know who I am. So I’m gonna go out there and try to make a name for myself and just take it to him.”
“UFC on Versus 6” takes place inside the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.