When you hear the name “Mighty Mouse,” strength and speed immediately come to mind.  There may not be a more fitting nickname for any MMA fighter than that given to current bantamweight title challenger Demetrious Johnson.

The 5-foot-3 fighter is one of the smallest competitors in the UFC, but that hasn’t stopped him from climbing the ranks and earning a shot against champion Dominick Cruz.  Johnson discussed his path to the UFC Live 6 main event while speaking with The MMA Corner.

“The last few wins have proven that I can hang with the top of the 135-pound division,” said a confident Johnson.  “Miguel Torres was once the champion of the division and Kid Yamamoto was once mentioned as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.  For me to go in there and hang with those guys, and get wins over them, it just adds to my resume.”

Against the champion, Johnson is more than aware of the tall task at hand as he battles the division’s top dog.

“He’s beat the best of the best in the weight division; Urijah Faber, Joseph (Benavidez) twice, Scott Jorgensen… he’s got a lot of rounds and 25-minute wars,” Johnson acknowledged.  “Obviously he’s taller, but a height and reach disadvantage has been the story of my life (laughing).  I’m going to go in there and do my best and put on a show for the fans and the UFC.”

In preparation for the title contest, Johnson has worked with his team at AMC Pankration just outside Seattle.  A number of other fighters call Matt Hume’s gym home as well, including Tim Boetsch and Bibiano Fernandes.  Johnson is quick to credit his team, especially coach Trevor Jackson.

“(Trevor) watched a ton of footage on Cruz; something like 13 hours,” Johnson revealed.  “He’s got Cruz’s style down to a tee.  He’s become the black Dominick Cruz (laughing).”

Demetrious Johnson (l) battles Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

The Oct. 1 title fight takes place from the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.  It will be the first championship bout not shown on pay-per-view (PPV) in nearly four years.  That’s a big deal for Johnson and fans.

“I’m excited for people to be able to watch the fight for free,” the fighter stated.  “To fork out $55 for every single PPV is hard to do, especially when they’re once a month.  It can get expensive.”

With the UFC belt within reach, “Mighty Mouse” knows exactly what is at stake when he steps into the cage.

“(Winning the belt) would mean the world to me,” Johnson admitted.  “There’s so many fighters in the world, and in the division, and not everyone gets the opportunity to fight for a title.  It would be a dream come true.”

In addition to his conquests at 135 pounds, Johnson is aware that the UFC has discussed adding the 125-pound flyweight division in 2012.  Walking around at only 140 pounds, Johnson could easily drop down to the lighter weight class.

“If the UFC approached me and my camp about it, I absolutely would (drop down),” said Johnson.  “If I could fight at both 125 and 135 pounds, that would be great.  I want to fight as much as I can.  But as of right now, I’m getting ready to fight for a title at 135.  I’ve shown I can hang with the best of the best, so for now this is my home.”

While the prospect of winning the championship is exciting to the fighter, he knows that there are other things to watch out for if he is successful against Cruz.

“It would put a big target on my back,” explained the title challenger.  “But that’s part of the job.  If you lose, you go back to bottom and work your way back up.  But if you win, you become public enemy No. 1.  I’m ready to go out there, do my thing, and take it to Dominick.”

Johnson would like to thank his fans, friends, and fiancé Destiny, as well as XBox 360 and AMC Pacific.

Top Photo: Demetrious Johnson (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

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