Former UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson makes a shocking claim about how much money he has earned throughout his UFC career.
Francis Ngannnou recently parted ways with the UFC. As for the reason, UFC president Dana White revealed that the company and Francis could not get on the same page after almost a year of negotiations. White revealed that he offered Ngannou the most amount of money that a heavyweight fighter has ever made in the UFC! But unfortunately for the fans, they parted ways prematurely.
The 36-year-old reportedly earned $642K for his title defense against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. Although it is a lot of money, the UFC heavyweight would expect to earn much more than that. However, in a recent Twitch stream, the former UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson reveals the shocking amount he earned for his title defenses! Johnson was the reigning 125lbs champ, but his pay did not reflect it!
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Known as “Mighty Mouse,” Demetrious Johnson has 11 consecutive title defenses, the most for any UFC fighter in the history of the promotion. However, the early days of his reign were not financially lucrative for him. For his maiden bantamweight title shot against Dominick Cruz, DJ earned less than $20K. To make things worse, his first title defense against John Dodson earned him less than $50K without the post-fight bonus.
Johnson added, “When I fought Dominick Cruz (for the bantamweight title in 2011), I was on a contract – I think I was fighting for ($14,000 to show) and ($14,000 to win). I lost to Dominick Cruz, so I made $14K. Then I was about to fight Eddie Wineland, and that didn’t go through, so I fought Ian McCall in Australia. I was still on that same contract. And then I got a new contract when I fought Ian McCall the second time. I think I got bumped up to ($20,000) and ($20,000).”
DJ TALKING ABOUT HIS UFC CONTRACT. HE WAS STUCK MAKING 30/30 IN HIS 3RD TITLE DEFENSE. pic.twitter.com/0HZV9Tjcza— Chungus Supreme (@FightsCameraPod) January 18, 2023
“So I beat Ian McCall, and then I fought Joseph Benavidez, and I was still on that ($20,000) and ($20,000). When I fought John Dodson, I made ($23,000) and ($23,000). And then when I fought John Moraga, it probably went to ($26,000) and ($26,000). And then when it was Joseph Benavidez (in the rematch), I think it was like ($30,000) and ($30,000).” (h/t via MMA Junkie)
After the revelation, the fans couldn’t stop talking about how shockingly low the amounts really were!
Here are some fan reactions on the matter
Wow. The UFC should be embarrassed but I am sure the greed is getting in the way. @danawhite https://t.co/tpreRMTRY1— arman walker (@armanwalker) January 19, 2023
Bro fuck Dana. Imagine being a world champion and only making 23k to show & win….. https://t.co/LhXZHnBEyd— jordan 𓁆 𓀕 (@splashysenju) January 19, 2023
Imagine risking permanent brain damage for 23k 😮 https://t.co/RWNNZCCDcL— ENZO MMA (@EnzoMMA27) January 18, 2023
Truly don’t understand why MMA fighters put up with this shit. Even very mediocre boxers make more money. https://t.co/8lYyxUHTvf— Travis (@LetsGoSac) January 18, 2023
So it is quite obvious that DJ’s salary does not fit that of a champion. Fighters have to pay their coaches, agents, rent, and various other bills before banking the rest. Hence, there are examples of UFC fighters having other jobs to support their career.
How much money did Demetrious Johnson earn in his UFC career?
Demetrious Johnson joined the UFC in 2011. He came into the promotion as a bantamweight and beat Norifumi Yamamoto on his debut. He followed it up with another win against Miguel Torres before losing to Dominic Cruz in the bantamweight title fight in the same year. However, in 2012, DJ started his journey as a flyweight and went on to create history as the face of the division.
Although Johnson etched his name in the history books, did his paycheques reflect his accomplishments? According to the man himself, the UFC never allowed him to have PPV points which would have supplemented his income exponentially. So how much did he actually earn in his UFC career? Let’s find out!
According to MMA Salaries, DJ earned $10K for his UFC debut against Yamamoto and $12K for his bout against Torres. As Demetrious revealed himself, he earned a mere $14K for his first title bout against Dominick Cruz. Then for his first bout against Ian McCall, Johnson earned $90K. Although he did not win it, UFC apparently paid him the win money and gave him a post-fight bonus. So he earned $20K to show, $20K to win, and $50K as bouns.
He earned $40K for the rematch, which included $20K to show and $20K to win. DJ then grabbed the UFC flyweight title at UFC 152 and earned only $46K ($23K to show and $23K to win). Against Dodson, DJ adds that he was paid $23K to show and $23K to win. However, as per MMA Salaries, DJ earned $26K to show and $26K to win. He also earned $50K as a bonus, which bumped his pay to $102K.
DJ’s first six-figure base salary came against Joseph Benavidez in 2013. For the rematch, Demetrious earned $125K to show and $50K to win. On top of that, the $50K post-fight bonus meant that DJ earned a total of $225K for the fight. In his bout against Ali Bagautinov at UFC 174, Mighty Mouse earned $179K ($127K to show and $52K to win). At UFC 178, Johnson earned $183K ($129K to show and $54K to win) to beat Chris Cariaso.
Johnson earned $237K ($131K to show, $56K to win, and $50K as a bonus) for his amazing win against Kyoji Horiguchi at UFC 186. For his John Dodson rematch at UFC 191, DJ earned $231K ($133K to show, $58K to win, and $40K for sponsorship money). DJ then crossed paths against Henry Cejudo for the first time at UFC 197.
For that fight, Johnson earned the biggest paycheque of his career until that point. He earned a reported $407K which included $135K to show, $60K to win, $50K as a bonus, and $40K as sponsorship payment. As per the report, it was also the first time when DJ earned a PPV point bonus and he received $122K. Interestingly, in his next bout against Tim Elliott, there was no bonus at all!
DJ fought Elliott in the 2016 TUF finale and he earned a flat fee of $350K and $40K as sponsorship money. So his total payout was $390K. There was a similar structure for his next title defense against Wilson Reis in 2017. DJ bagged $450K with $360K to win, $40K as sponsorship money from Reebok, and $50K as a post-fight bonus. There was no win bonus for him in the bout.
Ironically, the biggest payday of his UFC career came in a loss against Henry Cejudo in a rematch at UFC 227. DJ lost the bout via decision and it was extremely close. He reportedly earned $570K for the bout. It included his show money of $380K, $50K post-fight bonus, $40K sponsorship money, and a reported $100K PPV bonus. In his UFC 216 fight against Ray Borg, DJ earned a total of $460K.
So in total, Demetrious Johnson earned $3,646,000 from all of his UFC fights combined. The number pales in comparison to what Conor McGregor earns in one fight! After leaving UFC, Demetrious joined ONE Championship and went on to grab the title in the Asia-based MMA promotion as well.
So what are your thoughts on Johnson’s UFC fight purses over the years? Do you think it was justified? Let us know in the comments down below.
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