DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON will become the UFC’s greatest ever champion with his eleventh title defence on Saturday night but he refuses to forget the days when he was just a fan locking himself away in the toilet.
The undisputed Flyweight king is the only man to ever wear the belt and has cleaned up the division for the last five years.
But he keeps the memory of his life before finding MMA fame -when he earned just £8 an hour working in a warehouse and used fake bathroom breaks to watch the fighters he was desperate to one day emulate – in the front of his mind.
When asked how he will celebrate the almost certain win over Ray Borg in Las Vegas this weekend, the man nicknamed Mighty Mouse, from Kentucky, US, said: “I’ll step back, get to my new house, sit at the fireplace and look at the marble fireplace with a delicious beer and see what it feels like.
“Then – it’s not like the SuperBowl – it is straight to the next one.
“The media will want to know what is next – we never really get a chance to celebrate our wins.
“I just see myself as a hard worker. I worked in a warehouse earning ten dollars and 76 cents an hour. I used to run home. I used to sit on the toilet watching MMA fights.
“I will never forget those days because that is what makes me appreciate where I am now.”
Brilliant UFC superstars like Jon Jones have had all the talent in the world at their disposal but blown their legacy with poor standards of living away from the octagon.
But Johnson carries the 57kg belt with honour and the 5ft 3in powerhouse has had the division resting on his shoulders since 2012.
Mighty Mouse said: “A lot of guys get their belt and get flashy, they wear sunglasses indoors and doing other s***.
“I have been good to myself and my family has a wonderful life but I never forget those days when I was the guy on the other side of the TV screen watching these guys fight.
“I think it is good to be a humble champion, I am a human being just like everybody else.”
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Johnson – who admits to owning two hand guns for personal protection – hopes his fight at the T-Mobile Arena can bring a little respite to the city after the recent shooting.
The MMA master looks a certainty to deal with Borg – one month after their original fight was cancelled after the challenger fell ill trying to make the UFC’s lowest male weight class.
And he believes the famous strip will be back to its best.
He said: “Vegas will bounce back and it needs to take all the time it needs to.
“I don’t expect things to change overnight, it was a tragic incident just days ago.
“I am glad we are going ahead and we can hopefully bring some entertainment.”