Most fighters jump at the chance to entertain hometown fans in a UFC headliner. However, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson had the opposite approach earlier in his career, attempting to avoid the added stress of having friends/family in attendance or the increased expectations of fans hailing from his proverbial backyard.
“I never wanted to fight in front of my hometown crowd in the past because I was always worried that I would lose and everyone would boo me and say I suck. I didn’t want to deal with all that pressure,” admitted Johnson in a recent conversation with Bleacher Report. “But I’m at the point now in my career where I really don’t care about what happens. I’m going to go out there and do my best to come away with the victory and to put on a great show.”
“I’m at the point in my career where I think it is awesome to be fighting in my hometown and not having to do any traveling. Let’s see how it works. If things go sour, it’s not the end of the world,” he concluded.
Though Johnson’s acceptance of the possibility of defeat could be cause for concern, “Mighty Mouse” clarified his stance, stating it was a matter of remaining focused rather than taking any outcome for granted.
“At the end of the day, it’s always about training hard and staying humble because anything can be short-lived. I could be defeated July 27 and all of this talk and billboard stuff will all go away. That’s just the reality of things,” he explained. “But I make sure I stay focused in the gym and train hard every single day, and hopefully when I go out there on July 27 I come out with the ‘W.'”
The 17-2-1 Johnson will be seeking his second successful title-defense when he faces Moraga.