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Demetrious Johnson welcomes fellow UFC champ Cody Garbrandt to attempt flyweight move

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Demetrious Johnson would happily welcome Cody Garbrandt to the UFC flyweight division for a champion vs. champion affair. However, he warns his fellow titleholder to make such a move at his own peril.

With UFC flyweight champ Johnson (25-2-1 MMA, 13-1-1 UFC) just days away from having the chance to tie Anderson Silva’s all-time UFC title defense record against Wilson Reis (22-6 MMA, 6-2 UFC) in the main event of UFC on FOX 24, Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC), the current bantamweight champ, said he would have an interest in moving down a division to prevent “Mighty Mouse” from snapping Silva’s longstanding record.

Cody Garbrandt

“Demetrious has a fight with Wilson Reis in the not-too-distant future that’s coming up,” Garbrandt said in a recent interview. “He’ll tie Anderson Silva’s record, then his next fight would be the all-time record. He’s going for the huge record. Make him earn it (by fighting me).”

Johnson, who meets Reis in Saturday’s FOX-televised headliner at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, said he would be open to the idea of engaging Garbrandt in such a matchup.

Reis is of course the center of his attention, and Garbrandt has a 135-pound title defense lined up against T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 213 in July. But if all the obstacles are cleared, Johnson said he wouldn’t hesitate to accept a showdown with “No Love” the same way he’s accepted all other fights presented to him during his title reign.

“That’s not the first time somebody has said something like that,” Johnson told MMAjunkie at a recent media luncheon. “Lots of people say that they can make the weight class. Hell, I can make 115 pounds if they want to throw the division out there. Would I be able to perform at my ability? Probably not. But that’s fine.

“If he wants to come down and the UFC wants to give him an immediate title shot, because that’s what they do nowadays – give immediate title shots – then that’s fine. Or if I go up and challenge him for his belt if the negotiations go well, then yeah, it could happen. It’s a fight.”

If Johnson, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports MMA flyweight and pound-for-pound rankings, is able to beat No. 5-ranked Reis at UFC on FOX 24, he would match Silva’s consecutive title defense record of 10. The next fight would be critical to his place in history because he could pass “The Spider” and hold the record all to himself.

Garbrandt has said his desire to fight Johnson is not personal, he just wants to attempt to prevent him from making history while attempting to etch his own place in the record books as just the second simultaneous two-division titleholder in company history.

Johnson doesn’t seem particularly offended by Garbrandt’s aspirations of halting him in his tracks. However, no one has been able to dethrone him yet, and he said he certainly wouldn’t back down from this potential challenge, either.

“I’ve never, ever turned anybody down from coming to my weight class and trying to get my belt,” Johnson said. “I’ve never done it and it’s not going to start now and it’s never going to happen. If Jose Aldo says, ‘I can make 125 pounds, Demetrious Johnson; I’m coming down to fight you,’ I’m like, ‘Sweet. Perfect. Let’s get down to that weight class and let’s make it happen.’ Like I said, a lot of people have said it before, and I’m still here.”

For more on UFC on FOX 24, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.



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