Media blackout helped Ray Borg stay focused on UFC title shot

Updated September 4, 2017 - 4:59 pm

UFC flyweight contender Ray Borg was well aware of the heated public debate between champion Demetrious Johnson and UFC president Dana White about who should challenge for Johnson’s belt next.

Borg simply tried his best not to pay attention.

“Following the day-to-day news would have just pissed me off,” Borg told the Review-Journal during a stop in Las Vegas last week. “I’m big about staying in my own lane. When most people are probably reading every little story and stressing and obsessing about it and saying, ‘Oh, I hope they announce something soon,’ I was in the gym.”

“All the time I could have spent paying attention to the media was time I instead got to spend in the gym getting prepared for a fight that was actually going to happen.”

It had to be difficult to at least check in on the developments occasionally.

Borg believed he had secured a title shot against Johnson, who has a chance to set the UFC record for consecutive title defenses in his next fight.

Former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, however, set his sights on dropping to flyweight to challenge Johnson after Dillashaw lost out on the chance to fight for the 135-pound belt when champion Cody Garbrandt was injured.

White loved the idea, as did many fans and much of the media. Borg, and more importantly, Johnson, were not on board.

Despite public pressure from White, Johnson held firm and weathered a social media firestorm for several weeks until a matchup with Borg was finally announced for the main event of UFC 215 on Saturday in Edmonton, Alberta.

Borg has won five of his last six fights to rise up the rankings and earn the shot. He and Johnson both made the case it would be unfair for Dillashaw to leapfrog the crowded field of contenders for the opportunity to dethrone Johnson, who has held the belt since the division was created in 2012.

Not only does Borg thinks he deserves the chance, but he believes he’s the right man for the job.

“I’m the guy to beat him because I present a skill set that no other fighter has been able to against him,” he said. “You guys have barely seen what I can do. Go back and watch each fight. I’m a different fighter every time and that’s because I’m evolving and coming into my own.

“Not even (Johnson) really, truly knows what to prepare for. He hasn’t seen the complete fighter I am yet. Not only that, I’m young and hungry and don’t have a damn thing to lose. He’s got a lot to lose if he doesn’t make this happen. I’m 24 and I’m only going to keep trucking, so I think that makes it more of a dangerous fight than anyone thinks.”

The bout is part of a pay-per-view card that also includes a women’s bantamweight title bout between Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes.

WWE door open for Rousey

World Wrestling Entertainment executive Paul “Triple H” Levesque confirmed to ESPN last week the organization is interested in signing former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

He indicated the interest is mutual.

“She’s definitely interested and we’re having conversations,” he said on “SportsCenter.” “I’ll say it right here on ESPN: If she wants the opportunity, I’d be willing to give it to her.”

Rousey, who has lost her last two fights, has yet to make any announcement about her future in mixed martial arts.

She is a longtime pro wrestling fan and appeared in the ring as part of a storyline at WrestleMania in 2015.

Rousey was also featured Monday in a video on that appeared to set up a possible storyline on a future card.

Struve OK after KO

Veteran UFC heavyweight Stefan Struve shared a message with fans shortly after suffering a third-round knockout loss to Alexander Volkov in the main event of UFC Fight Night 115 in Rotterdam, Netherlands on Saturday.

“I’m OK you all,” the Netherlands native wrote with a post-fight photo from the locker room. “Sometimes you’re the hammer, sometimes you get hammered. Congrats to (Volkov), you were the better man and wanted it more. Much love to you all!”

It was the fifth straight win for Volkov and third since entering the UFC in November 2016.

Also on the card, middleweight Siyar Bahadurzada knocked out Rob Wilkinson in the second round and Leon Edwards outlasted welterweight Bryan Barberena en route to a unanimous-decision victory.

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA and UFC coverage online at and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.

Covering The Cage Videos
Covering The Cage: Live Interview With Elias Theodorou
Covering The Cage host Heidi Fang talks with Elias Theodorou to preview UFC on Fox and becoming a ring boy.
Covering the Cage: Roy Nelson interview
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk about the world of MMA as well as interview heavyweight Roy Nelson.
Covering the Cage: Feb. 6 Facebook Live
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang discuss UFC Fight Night 125 as well as preview UFC 221 and UFC 222.
Covering The Cage: Ronda Rousey joins WWE; UFC on Fox 27 recap
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang discuss Ronda Rousey’s move to WWE and recap UFC on Fox 27.
Covering the Cage: Jordan Rinaldi, UFC on Fox 27 preview
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk to fighter Jordan Rinaldi about his upcoming fight and preview the rest of UFC on Fox 27.
Covering The Cage Live: UFC 220 and Bellator 192 Recap
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang recap UFC 220 and Bellator 192.
Covering the Cage: Recapping 2017
Heidi Fang and Adam Hill go over their favorite moments of 2017 and pick their favorite fight, knockout and submission of the year.
Covering The Cage: UFC 219 Recap
Covering The Cage hosts Adam Hill and Heidi Fang recap tonights fights at UFC 219.
Covering The Cage: UFC 219 Picks
Covering The Cage hosts Adam Hill and Heidi Fang give their picks for the main card fights at UFC 219.
Covering The Cage: UFC 219 Preview
Covering the Cage hosts Adam Hill and Heidi Fang preview UFC 219 including Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm.
UFC 219 media day staredowns
Ahead of UFC 219's pay-per-view on Dec. 30, the stars of the main card faced off at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Cris "Cyborg" Justino will face Holly Holm in the main event for the women's featherweight belt.
Covering the Cage: UFC fighter Julian Marquez talks debut victory
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk with UFC fighter Julian Marquez. They discuss the beard competition between Marquez and Tyron Woodley, and the unexpected passing of longtime MMA coach and trainer Robert Follis.
Covering the Cage: Julian Marquez interview
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk about all things going on in the world of MMA and talk to Julian Marquez about his upcoming fight in Winnipeg.
Covering The Cage Live: UFC 218 Recap, TUF 26
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang recap The Ultimate Fighter 26 and UFC 218.
Covering The Cage: TUF 26 Recap, UFC 218 Preview
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang recap The Ultimate Fighter and preview UFC 218.
Covering the Cage: UFC 218, TUF 26 Finale preview
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang make their picks for the "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 26 Finale and UFC 218. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Covering the Cage: Kyra Batara interview
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk to Combate Americas Womens Atomweight Kyra Batara about her upcoming fight in San Antonio as well as Conor McGregor's potential incident at a bar and UFC 218.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like