T.J. Dillashaw after UFC 217 title win: Demetrious Johnson can't run from me anymore

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NEW YORK – Newly crowned UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw is ready to drop to the flyweight division to challenge champ and pound-for-pound king Demetrious Johnson.

Is Johnson ready to accept? That’s the $2 million question, but Dillashaw thinks it will happen.

“Demetrious can’t run from this one,” Dillashaw said after his second-round stoppage of Cody Garbrandt to reclaim the title at UFC 217. “This one’s too big. (Johnson) broke his (title-defense) record. He got to pad himself and break his record. Now, let’s make some money.”

With the belt around his waist, Dillashaw’s bargaining power is a lot better than a few months back, when Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) rejected a matchup with him in favor of a record-breaking fight against Ray Borg at UFC 215 for his 11th straight title defense.

The way Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) sees it, it’s in Johnson’s best financial interest to take this offer.

“(Johnson is) talking about how he wants those seven-figure fights – well, this is it,” Dillashaw said at UFC 217’s post-event press conference after the pay-per-view event at Madison Square Garden. “Step up, be a man of your word, and let’s get this fight going.”

UFC President Dana White is no more opposed to the idea now than he was when he tried to get Johnson to face Dillashaw after Garbrandt was forced to withdraw from a headliner at UFC 213.

Despite the fact that Dillashaw never has competed in the octagon at 125 pounds, White appears willing to give the idea a shot.

“It’s not up to me to feel confident about it,” White said of Dillashaw’s weight cut. “It’s him. Does he feel confident he can make that weight, and he was very confident when I talked to him that he could do it.”

Perhaps the bigger obstacle is the dollar figure that will be needed to motivate Johnson, who’s previously rejected moves up in weight unless given a $2 million payday.

“He’s a partner in the pay-per-view,” White said. “Let’s see what your pay-per-view does. You’re a partner. Let’s see what you make.

“Listen, you can’t be in a position where you’re like, ‘I want $2 million, (Expletive) you, I don’t care what you make. I don’t care how much this thing sells. I just want $2 million.’ Go tell your boss you want $2 million. You don’t give a (expletive) what it costs him. See what he says.”

Dillashaw admits it won’t be easy for him to move down in weight. But after getting spurned by Johnson the first time around, he’s providing all the verbal incentives needed to make the fight a reality this time.

And it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to drop the pounds, he adds.

“The reason why I look so lean at 135 is the way I work,” Dillashaw said. “I put muscle on to be at 135. I’m not a big (bantamweight). I walk around at 150, but I stack on, and I stay lean. I kept my diet since ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ I’ve been on a new diet with a new strength and conditioning coach, and he keeps the muscle on me, because that’s what I need.

“When I go to (flyweight), we’re going to have to lean that down. It is a lifestyle change.”

For complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Champ Demetrious Johnson breaks down 'Mighty Armbar,' reveals potential knee injury

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LAS VEGAS – UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson used his opponent’s fighting philosophy against him to break the UFC’s all-time title defense record at UFC 216.

Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) was listening when Ray Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) said in an interview he liked to upset his opponents’ balance to initiate winning scrambles. When he saw an opportunity to do the same, he seized it and pulled off his eye-popping armbar.

“A couple of weeks ago, he was saying when somebody’s planted, you have to shift their weight, and when they shift their weight, they’re light,” Johnson said at the pay-per-view event’s post-fight news conference at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “So I kneed him, and then I shook his weight – I shifted his weight, and when he shifted, he went back and threw and elbow, and I was like, ‘Got you.’”

Got you, indeed. In the fifth round, Johnson hoisted Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) in the air and locked his arm on the way down, landing in position to finish the fight. Although Borg fought mightily to avoid the tap, he couldn’t do so without risking severe damage to his arm.

It wasn’t the first time Johnson had pulled off such a move, which he dubbed the “Mighty Armbar,” as improvisational as it seemed. He had pulled it off several times in practice for UFC 215, originally scheduled for his try at the all-time UFC record before Borg fell ill and was forced to withdraw the day before the fight.

But the general public would never have known it was coming, because Johnson has a strict rule of secrecy when it comes to his work in the gym.

“You see a lot of people that are doing their V-logs – I don’t show any of my training,” he said. “I just don’t do it. It’s none of your guys’ business what I’m doing in the gym. But we do have the (UFC) ‘Embedded’ crew come out there, and I show my warmup, and they’re like, ‘Dude, you need to let us film your sparring, because the stuff you’re doing in sparring, you’re actually doing in the octagon.’

“When I was in Edmonton (for UFC 215), I was practically throwing people up. I do it all the time in the gym.”

Johnson wasn’t running a typical schedule for the rescheduled fight, however. When the promotion pushed back the fight, it added one month to a camp in which he’d sustained an unknown knee injury, concerning his team.

“When I was up in Edmonton, I had an injury I was going to fight through, and (coach) Matt (Hume) was like, ‘Uh, you need to get that looked at,’” Johnson said. “When it got pushed back, I was like, great, now I have to go into training camp injured and try not to make it worse.”

Thankfully, Johnson managed to make it to Saturday’s fight, and he put on another performance for the ages in his 11th consecutive title defense. He is now the official record-holder after pulling ahead of former middleweight champ Anderson Silva, the longtime keeper of that accolade. Plus, he’s destined for the No. 1 spot in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA pound-for-pound rankings, complimenting his stranglehold on the flyweight list.

“It’s really good not to hear Anderson Silva’s name next to my name,” Johnson said. “Now, who has the longest reign of title defenses? Demetrious Johnson does.”

The next order of business for Johnson is to find out what’s going on with his knee.

“I have to get an MRI,” he said. “I can move fine, but when I sit back on my knees, if try to lay on my knees and try to take my butt to my heels, just excruciating pain in my right knee. I don’t know what it is – I’m going to get it looked at.”

In the meantime, a lot of people are going to be looking at what he pulled off in the octagon. After explaining how he used Borg’s trick, he paused for effect.

“Yeah,” he exhaled in a mock tough-guy voice. “(Expletive) yeah.”

For complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Ray Borg coach credits John Dodson as key player in prep for UFC champ Demetrious Johnson

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LAS VEGAS – Ray Borg didn’t have to look far for advice on what it’s like to face UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.

Jackson Wink MMA striking coach Brandon Gibson said Johnson’s two-time opponent, John Dodson, played a key role in Borg’s preparation for his title fight Saturday at UFC 216.

“He’s gone in there and pushed Ray in the hard rounds,” Gibson told reporters at open workouts for Borg’s (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) fight against Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) in the pay-per-view co-headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “Dodson’s one of those guys I think can show speed similar to Demetrious, with power behind it.

“So it’s been great having Dodson in the gym. He’s taken Ray under his wing like a little brother, and he’s given him a lot of insight on what he felt in those 50 minutes.”

That insight stops short of victory, of course. Johnson defeated Dodson on two separate occasions, bringing the team to 0-3 against the champ and his camp at AMC Pankration.

Still, you could do worse for advice. Dodson managed to drop Johnson multiple times in their first meeting. Borg can use all the help he can get.

Watch the above video for Gibson’s thoughts on the fight.

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Oh, you have the 'remedy' for Demetrious Johnson? 'Cute,' UFC champ says

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LAS VEGAS – UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson has a word for those predicting his eventual downfall.

Cute.

“It’s always intriguing that this person thinks he can beat me,” Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) told MMAjunkie during UFC 216 media day. “And that team thinks they have the remedy of ‘The Mighty One.’ Now it’s my job to be like, ‘You guys are so far behind.’”

Of course, it’s the challenging party’s job to say they can beat the champ. In this case, it’s Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) and his team that are predicting they have the remedy.

The team, Jackson-Wink MMA, is one Johnson is very familiar with. Three of its fighters have faced Johnson in the octagon. Like the others, they’ve been confronted with defeat.

Still, longtime coach Brandon Gibson insists Borg is the one to dethrone Johnson. Just like the once-unbeatable Ronda Rousey or Dominick Cruz, he can be brought down.

When Johnson hears statements like that, he thinks about the time he sparred with a former partner of his two-time opponent Ian McCall.

“We were out there, and he goes, ‘What the (expletive)? We were so far behind. We had no idea what you were doing. I’ve never felt anything like this before in my life. Now, I can tell where we were so far behind.’”

As you can imagine, Johnson takes great pride in this story. It’s a little reminder that he keeps showing up those who predict his downfall.

“I get off on that, being this quiet guy who’s in the shadows, and everybody’s like, ‘This is what I do, I’m so good, look at these biceps.’And I’m like, ‘That’s real cute. Let’s dance.’”

On Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Johnson will attempt to break the record for most consecutive title defenses at 11. He then expects to face the winner of an upcoming bout between Henry Cejudo, a previous victim, and Sergio Pettis. Then the whole cycle of predictions starts over again.

But for now, a new challenger beckons, and with that the opportunity to send him and his compatriots home, wondering how they came up short.

“(Borg) is young, athletic. He seems very hungry, just like the last 10 of them were,” Johnson said. “I’m fighting Greg Jackson’s camp again. But I’m always excited and up for the challenge.”

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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UFC champ Demetrious Johnson's plan? It still involves Ray Borg – for now

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EDMONTON – UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson had thoughts of fighting three times in 2017. Those went out the window when Ray Borg was forced off tonight’s UFC 215 event.

Now, Johnson is waiting to see if his manager and the UFC can reschedule the fight for UFC 216, which takes place Oct. 7.

“If they call back and say Oct. 7 isn’t going to work, we’re going to have to push it longer, and then I’ll be like, I might just be done for the year,” Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) said backstage during today’s UFC 215 event, which he was supposed to headline at Edmonton’s Rogers Place before Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) fell ill.

Johnson, who aimed to break the UFC’s all-time record for title defenses with 11, said he can accommodate one short delay of the fight. He said he’d done so before when he was asked to extend his training camp for a fight with Chris Cariaso so he could headline UFC 178 with would-be headliner Daniel Cormier injured.

Extend his scheduled date more than a month, and Johnson’s flexibility goes. He cited a quick turnaround between a UFC 197 meeting with Henry Cejudo and proposed headliner at UFC 201 as the cause of a knee injury that delayed his career.

“I’m not going to do six or seven weeks,” Johnson said. “That’s when injuries happen.”

Yet the flyweight champ expressed no ill will toward Borg, whose struggles with weight have prompted to misses at the scale in addition to injuries that have scratched fights.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely devastating to go through eight weeks of training camp and wow, what a waste of (expletive) time – all the interviews,” Johnson said. “But it’s part of the game. I wish him nothing but the best. I hope he gets healthy, and we get this going.”

Johnson empathized with Borg’s plight, because he’s experienced it himself.

“The most times I get sick is when I’m in training camp, because my body is broken down, and I’m not healthy,” he said. “And when you’re cutting weight, I’m dehydrating myself.

“Blatantly honest, weight-cutting is not good for you. But we want to fight guys that are (5-foot-3) and 5-4 and not guys who are 5-11 and 5-10, so that’s why there’s weight cuts. So, when you cut weight, you’re going to get sick. It’s the nature of the beast. Your immune system is low, and it just happens.”

Johnson deflected a question of whether the UFC had given him any money for showing up to the event, saying his management is working on it. He instead praised his team and the promotion for notifying him on the last-minute cancellation rather than waiting until he’d cut weight to fight.

“I can turn this interview into one thousand clickbaits if I want to,” he said. “But that’s not the kind of guy I am.”

Watch the above video, and for complete coverage of UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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