Demetrious Johnson doesn’t mind co-main event status at UFC 216

Demetrious Johnson says the media is more worried about his spot on the card

Demetrious Johnson has a chance to make history on Saturday night with his 11th consecutive title defense at UFC 216 but he’ll do so while occupying a slot in the co-main event.

Johnson faces surging contender Ray Borg after their fight was rescheduled from its original date in September at UFC 215 when the challenger suffered a viral infection that knocked him out of the event. The fight was immediately moved to the card taking place this weekend alongside the interim title bout between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee.

Despite Johnson’s undisputed title going up for grabs versus an interim belt — a similar scenario that was set to unfold at UFC 213 this summer with Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko set to headline over Robert Whittaker against Yoel Romero for an interim title — the UFC opted to leave Ferguson and Lee in the headline spot.

While there was some grumbling online that it was a slight to Johnson that he didn’t get the main event position, the reigning and defending flyweight champion says that everybody else is far more worried about him fighting in the co-main event than he ever cared to think about.

“I’m not worried about it,” Johnson said ahead of UFC 216. “I think you guys worry about more things than I do so I’m not worried about it.”

Johnson has endured these kinds of changes previously in his career.

Back in 2014, Johnson was scheduled to co-headline a card in Sacramento that changed at a moment’s notice when he was moved to a different event a month later when the main event on that show was scrapped.

Johnson admits that the late notice changes are never that much fun — especially with his situation at UFC 215 where he was told the fight was off just a day away from the event — but he chalks it up to all being part of the sport.

“This isn’t the first time it’s happened to me,” Johnson explained. “It happened back when I was fighting Chris Cariaso at UFC 177 and [Alexander] Gustafsson got injured and I moved up and headlined at UFC 178. It added an extra four weeks to the training camp.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s very frustrating when you get to the city and you’re cutting weight and you get a phone call saying ‘hey stop cutting weight’. It’s like f–king A. It is what it is, here we are now.”

▶️ Follow us on Youtube for the best & latest MMA content ▶️
Demetrious JohnsonExclusiveLatest newsRay BorgUFC 216: Ferguson vs. Lee

Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.