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Demetrious Johnson's unusual suggestion: Make my next title defense a co-main event

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Esther Lin

Has UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson conceded that he's not a top draw?

Johnson is widely regarded among the top three pound-for-pound in the world. He's the only flyweight champion in UFC history, having held the belt since its 2012 inception. He's undefeated at his weight class, and he's recycling challengers, as vanquished opponents like Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson angle for another shot at the belt.

But Johnson's dominance in the Octagon hasn't been matched at the box office, as pay-per-view buys and ticket sales for his bouts have been sluggish.

So Johnson has a suggestion: Put him as the co-feature bout in his next fight.

"Mighty Mouse" told MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani for Wednesday's edition of UFC Tonight that he'd like his next title defense to be part of UFC 191, underneath a Chris Weidman-Luke Rockhold bout.

Of course, there are stumbling blocks to such a scenario. Rockhold hasn't been officially named the next contender to Weidman's middleweight belt; and Weidman is holding out for a potential December date at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Still, it's almost unheard of for a reigning champion to openly suggest fighting somewhere other than the main event, so even if the idea doesn't come to fruition, the statement itself is noteworthy.