In the first publicized trade in the history of mixed martial arts, Demetrious Johnson, the most dominant champion in the history of the UFC, was swapped with Ben Askren, thereby making Johnson the new face of ONE Championship. All parties within the trade were thrilled with the deal, but when rumors began to circulate that the flyweight division was coming to an end, there was heavy backlash from the MMA world. The most preeminent and Notorious critic had a particularly interesting take on the trade:
You must now take all the 125lbers that have been let go, Chatri.
You talk all of this Martial Art and respect talk, yet your greed has directly cost more than half a fighting division it’s chance to earn income for their family.
Have respect @YODCHATRI.
Sign the division.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 8, 2018
Demetrious Johnson is perplexed by McGregor’s comments, and even provided an idea for McGregor to be a solution to the problem if the matter is truly of concern to him:
“I don’t get where this logic comes behind that,” Johnson told BJPenn Radio recently. “What makes him think Chatri owes somebody something?
“If he’s worried flyweights losing their jobs, I’m pretty sure he has a huge stake in the UFC company now,” he said. “I’m sure he can go to Dana, and be like Dana, ‘Keep these guys, these guys are fucking amazing. Let’s try to do this right. Let’s try to promote them.’ Facilitate a meeting of those who can [change things], with Proper Whiskey. ‘Let’s sit down and have a good talk.’ I’m sure he could come up with something.”
Demetrious Johnson further argues that the idea of terminating the flyweight division is far from new, and that there was nothing he or anybody else could do to remove those musings from the minds of the UFC brass:
“I mean they were talking about closing it two years ago,” Johnson said. “It’s not the first time they’ve ever brought it up, you know? They were talking about closing when I was a champion, and I was like ‘okay, it is what it is…
“The UFC was planning on getting rid of flyweight division when I was the champion — [I was] finishing people, not taking people to decision, finishing people.
“As I said, that’s Conor’s opinion of what he thinks should happen,” the former flyweight champ continued. “This is a guy who just did this thing, you know, the Barclay’s Center [thing], throwing the dolly in the bus, hurting multiple people. I truly think he doesn’t care. But that’s just my personal opinion.”
Do you agree with Demetrious Johnson? Could Conor McGregor potentially save the flyweight division?