UFC president Dana White has gone to bat for flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson time and time again.
Now, as “Mighty Mouse” prepares to face Chris Cariaso at UFC 177 in the co-main event next month, White is forced to go to the podium again.
Cariaso (17-5) is ranked outside of the Top-10 in the division, but the flyweights have been riddled with injuries and planned bouts. John Dodson was expected to contend for the title next, but he suffered a knee injury.
Ian McCall just competed, and other highly-rated fighters such as Joseph Benavidez and John Moraga were already given their shots.
“People are going to (expletive) about Demetrious Johnson no matter who we put him in there against,” said White, during his weekly UFC Download interview. “Eventually, he’ll just have to keep knocking people out left and right, and then he’ll earn his respect.”
Johnson (20-2-1) is also coming off a recent victory over Ali Bagautinov that pushed his UFC mark to 8-1-1. His only loss during that time came to then-bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.