Demetrious Johnson rips Ronda Rousey for reaction to recent losses: 'Grow up'

UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson may not be a proven pay-per-view draw or be one to get caught up in beefs with his opponents. But the pound-for-pound king has grown into a consistently solid sound-bite who isn't willing to pull any punches. 

Johnson (26-2-1), in a revealing interview with Sports Illustrated on Wednesday, talked about his mindset as it pertains to breaking records and avoiding defeat. In the process, he took a shot at former women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

"You know, people say, 'I visualize myself at this point.' I visualize myself losing most of the time just because I've seen so many champions lose, and they don't know how to take it," Johnson said. "Their whole world is upside down, 'Oh, my God, what am I going to do?'

"You look at Ronda Rousey. You got your ass beat, grow the f--- up. It happens. It's mixed martial arts. I don't want to be like that. If I lose, I'll be like, I lost."

Rousey (12-2) lost her title and suffered a pair of devastating knockout defeats over the past 18 months. At 30, it remains uncertain whether Rousey will ever fight again despite such a dominant unbeaten run to begin her UFC career. 

"Everybody has [tasted defeat], everybody f---ing loses," Johnson said. "It's part of the sport. Grow up. Look, Ronda, you lost two f---ing fights in a row, and you made more f---ing money than the women's roster. You'll be fine, don't worry about it."

Johnson, 30, referenced his two defeats (to Brad Pickett in 2010 and Dominick Cruz in 2011) and how he bounced back from them. He went on to say he likes where he's at right now in the sport before mentioning Rousey's name one final time. 

"Right now I'm the greatest fighter in the f---ing UFC roster," Johnson said. "I have never missed weight. I've never bashed my company, and said, 'Hey, f--- you UFC, f--- you, f--- you.' Never said it to the media. I'm always on time. Never missed a fight. I'm the same person when I'm up here as I was when I was down here. That should not change.

"Is it different for Ronda? When she's way up here, she's more bubbly, she's talking to people, blah, blah, blah. When she finally loses, she's down here. She doesn't give anybody the time of day, blah, blah, blah. Same thing. So we don't know who she really is, you know what I mean? I've always kept to myself when I win my fights. I'm never going to change. When I lose, I'm never going to change."

Johnson, who is one win away from breaking Anderson Silva's record of 10 UFC title defenses, said he's only willing to move back up to 135 pounds (where he suffered his lone defeats) if the price is right.  

"People say, '[Go to] bantamweight, you need to challenge yourself,'" Johnson said. "I will do that if you pay me enough. But if you don't want to pay me, then don't talk about it. I'm not bitching and complaining. I'm happy to stay at 125 and keep beating people up."

Johnson said he would have no problem fighting current bantamweight king Cody Garbrandt, or former champions TJ Dillashaw and Cruz, and any notion that he's scared is ridiculous. But he's no longer willing to accept being paid "f---ing $400,000" when he knows he deserves $1 million. 

While Johnson said he understands what it would take to become a bonafide pay-per-view star, he isn't willing to manufacture hatred against his opponents like a cartoon character and be something he's not.

"Pay-Per-View is run by drama. It is. It's true. I've done the research for myself," Johnson said. "You look at Jon Jones. When Jon Jones fought [Lyoto] Machida, [he] probably did about $200,000, $300,000. When he fought [Daniel] Cormier, they made, like, $875,000.

"It's drama. They're beefing. Pay-Per-View buys, it's nice, don't get me wrong. If you get Conor [McGregor] or Ronda you're going to hit at least a million buys, you're going to cash out. But those guys aren't fighting as often as I do. They don't need to because they make that type of money."

Johnson said he's already starting to work on his exit plan from the sport.

"I got five [years left]. If I'm fighting 10 years from now, I didn't make enough money in the UFC," he said. "That's my philosophy. Five or six more years, I'm ready to move on."

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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