Borg is already listed as high as a seven-to-one underdog against Johnson by some oddsmakers, an understandable line considering Johnson’s dominant reign atop the 125-pound division. “Mighty Mouse,” meanwhile, is on the precipice of making history, his 10 consecutive title defenses having tied the storied record set by Anderson Silva for the most consecutive title defenses in UFC history. Another win for Johnson and the record will belong to him alone.
However, at 24 years old, Borg is confident in his ability to not only stop history by defeating Johnson once, but to do so a second time as well.
“If I win, I’m going to fight DJ again,” Borg said this week on a UFC 215 media conference call. “He’s one of the greatest for a reason. He’s defended his belt 10 times. There would be no reason why, if I beat him, I wouldn’t fight him again. I imagine a great champion like himself will get an automatic rematch, so I’ll go home, I’ll fulfill the promise that I made to my niece, which is to take her to Disneyland, and then I’ll go right back home and go right back to the board and learn how to beat DJ in an even more impressive fashion.”
Borg is one of the top up-and-coming names in the flyweight division. The New Mexico native has won five of his seven UFC fights, a run highlighted by the pair of back-to-back victories over Louis Smolka and Jussier Formiga that earned him the shot at Johnson’s strap.
Of course, on the surface, Borg’s resume pales in comparison to that of Johnson, who has ripped through an unbeaten 13-fight streak since the UFC opened the flyweight division in 2012. But while Johnson’s brilliance has carried him through a litany of the best names the 125-pound has to offer, Borg is confident that his own youth and skillset will offer a challenge unlike any “Mighty Mouse” has faced.
“I’m 24, man. There’s nothing to lose going into this fight,” Borg said. “In all honesty, I’m a real person, I’m not going to be over here yelling out stupid sh*t like ‘I’m going to f*ck DJ up’ or anything like that. Honestly, I’m going to go in there and fight my heart out and, win or lose, I’m going to keep coming. I’m going to keep coming and there’s nothing that’s going to stop me.
“So, me being so young, I think it makes this a dangerous fight for him because I’m going to go in there like a wild man with absolutely not a thing to lose, obviously technical, and I’m going to make the most of it. He doesn’t really know what I’m going to bring into this fight. I’m coming into my own, I’ve changed every single fight I’ve been in, I’m starting to adapt even more as the fights go on, so there’s no telling what I’m going to bring into that Octagon on Sept. 9.”
One non-fight caveat that could impact Johnson’s chance at history is Borg’s past struggles to make weight.
Borg has twice missed the flyweight limit in the UFC, including a bad miss last year against Smolka in which Borg tipped the scales at 129.5 pounds. However, now that he is training among the celebrated coaching staff at Jackson-Winklejohn gym, Borg is confident that his weight issues are behind him.
“This is a question that I get a lot, which is expected because I have missed weight twice. But really, I just turned 24,” Borg said. “I never came from a superstar camp, so a few of my weight cuts were more of improper weight cutting, and honestly just lack of knowledge on how to properly go up to weight cutting, staying low in the offseason, and so on and so forth. So I’ve corrected my mistakes, I’ve done what I’ve had to do to get to that 125-pound limit, so I have no doubt in my mind that I’m going to make weight easily.”
Training at Jackson-Winklejohn has also paid dividends in a different way, as Borg has been able to prepare extensively with UFC bantamweight contender John Dodson, who twice challenged for Johnson’s title in the past.
Dodson’s 2013 fight against Johnson, in particular, was one of the closest fights of Johnson’s reign as champion, and Borg believes the work he has gotten with Dodson has been beneficial as UFC 215 approaches.
“John Dodson has been very, very helpful,” Borg said. “He’s the only person to be in there with him for pretty much an hour, so if anybody knows him better, it’s going to be John. And John’s been nothing but great help for this fight camp, he’s been there throughout the whole thing. He’s giving me his input, done what he has to do to help me get prepared, so it’s been great having John in the gym along with Greg (Jackson), who also has prepared to fight DJ before. So the things that they didn’t do with John, I’m going to plan on going in there and doing them.”