Demetrious Johnson wants to conclude the UFC's flyweight tournament more than anyone, but a pending surgery will put the finalist on the sidelines until the fall.
Johnson (15-2-1 MMA, 3-1-1 UFC), who topped Ian McCall in a rematch this past weekend in the UFC on FX 3 headliner, now is slated to fight fellow finalist Joseph Benavidez (16-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC) for the inaugural UFC flyweight title.
But first up for "Mighty Mouse" is hernia surgery later this week.
"It's called an inguinal hernia," Johnson today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
). "It's very common in men. It's pretty explicit to talk about it, but basically, it's a very uncomfortable situation. I noticed it after I got done fighting.
"My forearm and right hand hurt pretty bad, and that's mostly what my mind was focused on. Once I got home, though, I noticed I was hurting in the groin area."
In fact, just days after the fight, which Johnson won via unanimous decision in Sunrise, Fla., the newlywed did a charity walk with his wife. In extreme discomfort afterward, Johnson finally consulted a doctor, who relayed the news about his needed surgery.
Johnson is hoping he can have the procedure done Friday. He said he has two options for the surgery, including one that would keep him sidelined just a few weeks. However, the doctor told him that because he's an athlete, he should opt for the second kind, which includes the use of mesh netting and a better likelihood he won't re-aggravate the injury in future training sessions.
That option requires a month of recovery, so Johnson said he probably wouldn't be able to fight until October or November. Earlier this week, Benavidez, who wasn't aware of Johnson's injury, told MMAjunkie.com Radio he was hoping for a September fight.
So what's a perfect scenario for Johnson, whose past three fights have come on non-pay-per-view shows far away from his Washington home?
"Preferably, Vegas," he said. "I love fighting in Vegas. And I'm undefeated in Vegas, so I love Vegas. But television-wise, it depends. If you put this as a main event on pay-per-view, it might have trouble selling. But if you match us up with somebody who's a huge draw, then ... everybody is going to buy it and be exposed to us.
"But it doesn't matter to me because regardless, I'm going to have to fight in the octagon."
Both Johnson and Benavidez are former UFC/WEC bantamweight title challengers. Now, they'll fight to determine the world's No. 1 flyweight. Like Benavidez, Johnson is anxious to see through the conclusion of the four-man tournament.
But his top priority is being physically ready for it.
"The first thing on my mind is get the surgery out of the way and heal my body and get after it again," he said.