UFC flyweight contender Ray Borg isn’t the first fighter to say they have the secret formula to dethrone current champion Demetrious Johnson.
Johnson has been virtually untouchable since winning the flyweight championship in 2012 and with one more win in April he’ll tie Anderson Silva for the most title defenses in UFC history with 10.
As impressive as Johnson has been throughout his career, Borg still believes he will be the fighter to not only offer the toughest test to date but he will be the guy to end his reign as the only flyweight champion the UFC has ever known.
Perhaps the most telling sign that Borg knows he can get the job done is that he’s not offering some crazy, Conor McGregor like call out to get under the champion’s skin or insulting Johnson in some way to make him take notice.
Instead, Borg just lays out in the purest technical terms that when it comes to a fight with Johnson, he’s the better man.
“The thing about me and the way I’ve been since day one I’ve been in the UFC is that I’ve been honest,” Borg told FOX Sports. “I’m not biased. I’m one of the most honest guys, especially when it comes to myself. I know whether I need more time for Demetrious or what I need to work on, I’m honest with myself.
“The thing is I’m not going to get on some media and call Demetrious a turd and say I’m the mousetrap and he’s the mouse. I’m not a cliché guy. I’m going to keep it real. I’m going to keep it honest. I’m going to say what’s on my mind and say what I truly feel. If that gets the crowd a little bit rattled, that’s cool. It’s just me being honest. I’m just a blunt guy.”
So what exactly separates Borg from the other opponents who have all come up short from beating Johnson over the past five years?
Borg explains that it’s not his confidence and it’s not some secret weapon he’s got stored away while issuing ominous threats against Johnson to accept his challenge. Instead, Borg breaks it down in detail on why he believes he will be the fighter to take the belt away from Johnson once he gets the opportunity to face him.
“I’ve been saying this before I was even in the UFC about my style of fighting. One thing I’ve always said is sometimes when you can’t put the fire out with water, you fight fire with fire. I truly believe Demetrious hasn’t fought anybody quite like me. He really hasn’t,” Borg explained. “Tim Elliott was a scrambly type of guy, but he’s more of an unproductive scrambler. He’s got all these amazing scrambles, but he’s kind of lost in those scrambles and he doesn’t really capitalize.
I scramble, I move, I capitalize on positions. If I find an opening, I exploit it and I take it and I definitely feel like me versus Demetrious, I can match his speed. I know I can match his power. I can match his wrestling. I know I can match him everywhere but the place I know I beat him is in the scrambles.”
Borg feels those moments when he’s caught in exchanges with Johnson on the feet or on the ground are where he could truly take over a fight with the flyweight champion.
Johnson’s ability to win those scrambles and capitalize on an opponent’s smallest mistake is a large part of what has made him such a dangerous and capable champion in the UFC. Johnson knocked out Joseph Benavidez in one particularly brutal exchange when the challenge stepped into a combination with the champion but failed to protect his own chin and he paid for it.
The same could be said for Kyoji Horiguchi, who went four plus rounds with Johnson before the champion seized on a split second mental error to grab an arm bar submission at 4:59 into the final round, which still stands as the latest finish in a championship fight in UFC history.
Beating Johnson in those exchanges are crucial according to Borg and he believes taking advantage of the smallest possible mistake from the champion is what will lead him to victory when they finally meet.
“No one scrambles like me. I truly believe no one in this division has what I have on the ground,” Borg said. “I honestly feel like I’m one the most explosive fighters in this division and when it comes to pure explosiveness, yeah all these flyweights are fast and they’re powerful but I don’t feel like any of them have that explosive button to where you press that button and I’m there and gone in a heartbeat.
“I think that’s what separates me between Demetrious.”
As confident as Borg might be that he’s ready for a fight with Johnson, he also knows realistically that probably won’t be his next opponent.
Johnson is already matched up with No. 3 ranked Wilson Reis in April and assuming he’s victorious, the champion probably won’t return until later this year.
So in the mean time, Borg is happy to accept another fight to prove he’s ready for the challenge while also sending a subtle message to Johnson that his toughest opponent to date is coming for him.
“One more fight will definitely showcase that I’m ready for a title shot,” Borg said. “If you take my last two performances and then compare them to the two previous fights before that, the leaps and bounds that I’ve made in my striking and my wrestling, the improvements I’ve made have been tremendous. Add one more fight on top of that and it’s going to be a great showing.
“It’s going to do nothing but prove that I’m going to be the guy to take out Demetrious Johnson.”