UFC flyweight contender Ray Borg doesn’t have many options with Demetrious Johnson vs. T.J. Dillashaw in the works, and he’s not happy about that.
Ray Borg thought he was next in line for UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson — until he wasn’t.
“The Tazmexican Devil” was in talks to fight for the belt in August, but now it appears former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw may steal his place as next title challenger at 125 pounds.
And Borg’s not too thrilled with that.
Not because that means he won’t receive the title shot next, but because there are now very few options in the flyweight division for his next fight. The majority of the top 10 are either injured, already booked, or have already fought Borg. The only viable next opponent for Borg is Wilson Reis, who lost to Johnson in April by submission.
“I felt a little blindsided, just because we had been talking back and forth and we were talking about making the DJ fight happen,” Borg told BloodyElbow.com’s The MMA Circus. “I want to fight DJ, whether it’s now, tomorrow, a year from now. It don’t matter. I don’t really care. But the goal is to fight DJ. And it was put in front of me that it was going to happen.
“Even if it didn’t happen, I was going to fine with that, as long as I could fight (Sergio) Pettis or (Brandon) Moreno. That was the only two fights I wanted in the division. As soon as I started to see Pettis and Moreno get booked, I was like, ‘OK, well, this probably means that I’m fighting DJ. And if not, I’m gonna be pissed.’”
Borg’s frustration began when he found out Johnson vs. Dillashaw was in the works, after discovering that Pettis vs. Moreno was official. Borg has bills to pay, and, at this point, he just wants to fight — his main concern isn’t the title — so he can pay those bills. He’s been forced to sit on the sidelines in the past, and that’s not something he wants to do moving forward.
“So T.J. decides to jump in line. Apparently he’s got more star power, which he does; he’s been in the game a lot longer than I have and he’s the former champ,” Borg said. “But my frustration is it doesn’t really leave me with anyone else in the division that makes sense. It really doesn’t. Everyone’s either injured or booked. There’s not much to do, and I’m not waiting on the shelf. People don’t understand that a lot of my UFC career I’ve waited on the shelf for six to eight months in between fights. And I’m over that. I want to stay active; this is the time to do it.”
Borg said it’s “probably not” fair if Dillashaw, who’s never fought at flyweight, fights Johnson before he does, but also noted fairness is a rare thing in prize fighting. Borg’s biggest concern with Dillashaw fighting for the 125-pound belt is the possibility of the Team Elevation fighter immediately vacating the title should be beat Johnson, leaving the top of the flyweight division a mess.
“What frustrates me is that if T.J. wins that belt, it’s going to be the same situation as Conor at 145 and 155. That belt’s going to be held hostage,” Borg said. “He’s not gonna be able to make 125 multiple times to defend it. I’m sure. So if he wins it at 125, he wants to do it just to be another champ. And then he moves up to 135, and then what does that do to the 125-pound division? A vacant belt that everyone’s gotta fight for again?”
There’s still hope for Borg, because “Mighty Mouse” has remained adamant fighting Borg — not Dillashaw — is what he wants next. Borg is glad the champion, unlike some titleholders, is “respecting the rankings” by wanting to fight the most deserving contender. But the 23-year-old also thinks Johnson is trying to increase his paycheck for a potential Dillashaw fight.
“I think it was a tactic towards the UFC,” Borg said. “If he does fight Dillashaw, he doesn’t want to make the same money he’s making now. I feel like he would settle and make the same money — maybe a little bit more — versus me, but because T.J.’s already a star and [the UFC is] pushing [the Dillashaw fight] on him so bad, I think it was more of a tactic to be like, ‘Alright, I’m fighting Ray Borg, not T.J.’ And then the UFC’s gonna wanna make it happen, so they’re gonna be like, ‘Well, what’s it gonna take, DJ?’ And they’re gonna throw him a little more cash, and that’s what he wants.
“Johnson’s partly on my side, and I also think Johnson just wants more money for the T.J. fight. I’m straight up f—king confused at the whole situation.”
Borg said he’s under the impression that Johnson thinks he is a lesser challenge than Dillashaw.
“I definitely think that’s maybe why he’s aiming towards me,” he said. “But we’ve all seen the improvements I’m making since I switched over to Jackson-Wink MMA. I’m getting better and better every single day. [Johnson is] writing me off probably, too, but that really don’t matter to me.”
Is Reis next for Borg? Maybe a title shot if Johnson vs. Dillashaw falls apart? If only Borg knew.
According to the Albuquerque, N.M., native, he’s heard nothing regarding what’s next for him since initial Johnson discussions.
“That’s the most frustrating part about the last few days: me totally being in the dark and not knowing sh-t,” Borg said. “T.J. is over here saying that he’s talking to Dana and Dana likes [the Johnson matchup]. ‘Mighty Mouse’ says he’s waiting on his bout agreement to fight me. I haven’t even gotten so much as a possible bout agreement or any of that. It’s been more of, ‘We’re supposed to fight DJ or we’re looking at fighting DJ Aug. 19.’ That’s literally all we heard. But T.J. and DJ have heard a lot more than I have.”