UFC 216 Press Conference
UFC 216 Live and Exclusive on 8th October 2017 Sunday 7:30 AM on SONY ESPN and SONY ESPN HD.
Dave Lockett: Welcome to the UFC 216 conference call. UFC 216 will take place next Saturday, October 7th at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It will feature two title fights. Joining us today are the four participants for those fights. Fighting in the main event and competing for the interim lightweight title we have number two ranked light weight Tony Ferguson and number seven ranked lightweight Kevin Lee. Also joining us and fighting for the UFC Flyweight title we have ten-time defending champion Demetrious Johnson and Number 3 Flyweight Ray Borg. Welcome, gentlemen. We will now open the queue up for questions.
Operator: Yes sir, thank you, ladies and gentlemen, if you do wish ask a question, please signal by pressing Star 1 on your telephone keypad. Please also make sure that your mute function is turned off to allow your signal to reach our equipment. Once again that Star 1 places you into the queue. Will post just a moment to allow everyone the opportunity to signal. Well take our first question from Steven Marrocco with MMAJunkie.com.
Steven Marrocco: Hey, Tony, you there?
Tony Ferguson: Yes, buddy.
Steven Marrocco: So, I just wanted to get a little bit more context on this video (Plays video). . . If you can maybe give us a little bit of context as to how that whole interaction with Fabricio started and ended.
Tony Ferguson: That’s not what we’re talking about, the fight that we’re talking about is UFC 216 versus Kevin Lee and I.
Steven Marrocco: Okay, you don't have any desire to explain what happened?
Tony Ferguson: No, it doesn't matter who they put in front of me I'm going to knock their a** down.
Steven Marrocco: Did it take you by surprise that I asked you that question?
Tony Ferguson: No, I didn't take me by surprise I just don't like the people, I see through them.
Steven Marrocco: Okay. Well, I guess I'll transitions to the fight. What’s your goal as far as sort of writing the script for your career for the next 6 to 12 months in terms of the title picture and how things play out?
Tony Ferguson: To go out there do some work. I’m not getting touched by this kid. I’m going to go out there, get my hand raised and I’m going to have my belt and we’ll worry about s*** after that.
Steven Marrocco: Got you, thanks.
Operator: We’ll go ahead and take her next caller. The next to Damon Martin with MMAWeekly.com.
Damon Martin: Hey, guys, first question is for Tony. Tony, you’ve been on such an incredible streak right now but as you go into this fight there's that interim lightweight title attached to it. Do you view this as a interim title, or do you believe this is the real lightweight championship are fighting for?
Tony Ferguson: This is the interim title bout. Conor has the real belt. This is does not affect him, it's real, I can feel it I can see it I can taste it. It's going to be mine. Once I get this belt then we’ll be unified. If not, then all the rankings and everything else go out the f****** window, this one is the interim belt we’re fighting for. Real belt or no belt, it doesn't matter what anybody says, it's about that's going to have to be unified otherwise you’re going to have to defend and vacate.
Damon Martin: Does the Conor McGregor shadow loom over this fight just because he's not coming back and it looks like from everything that we’re seeing he’s going to fight Nate Dieaz, it seems like there's no resolution right now for these titles to be unified.
Tony Ferguson: Money talks, bull s*** walk, man, I was going to protect her pockets and keep McNuggets away from a real contender.
Damon Martin: Do you believe that you and Kevin, are the two best lightweights in the division?
Tony Ferguson: I believe I’m the best lightweight in this division, I don't know about Kevin, but I know for sure that I’ve earned my place here. I’ve got nine consecutive victories, I’ve got one performance bonus. And the only person who can really touch on that is Demetrious Johnson. When you put in the numbers and you put in the time and you put in the effort, you're going to get something out of it. And I just got done from the mountain and I feel like a neanderthal, man, and I’m not putting up with anybody's bull s***. This is my time.
Damon Martin: Have you been impressed by Kevin Lee’s run in the UFC?
Tony Ferguson: He's an athlete, he's a very respected athlete. We come from the same kind of background, you can talk away up into a title fight coming you can do everything else, but once that door locks, every word that you said is going to have to deal with f****** me.
Damon Martin: And question for Demetrious Johnson. DJ, you had this delay, a few weeks delay and going into this fight. Did that do much of anything for you in terms of your focus or maybe the anger that you had to wait an extra month to have this fight? Did any of that play into this or is it just the same as always?
Demetrious Johnson: No, man, this is the same as always, this isn't the first time it's happened to me. It happened back when I was fighting Chris Cariaso at UFC 177 and Cariaso got injured and I moved up and headlined UFC 179 and added an extra four weeks to the training camp . But 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 that says stop cutting weight. And it’s like f****** a, so but it is what it is and here we are now.
Demetrious Johnson: Yes, this is obviously still a historic moment for you, DJ, going for that 11th title defense, there was some question when you got put on this start whether or not you end up being the main event. As it played out, you and Ray are the co-main events. Does that bother you, do you believe you should be the main event or the kind of respect that because you guys are kind of like a late notice slight fight got into the car?
Demetrious Johnson: No, I'm not worried about it. I think you guys worry about more things than I do, so I’m not worried about it.
Damon Walker: Thanks, DJ.
Operator: Okay, I'll take the next caller, Akhilesh Gannavarapu with MMAIndia.com.
Akhilesh Gannavarapu: hey, guys, thank you for taking the time. My first couple of questions go to Tony. Tony, you picked up some impressive victories against top names on your way to being title shot, again with Conor, and that the fight with Nate what aggravations like considering it could've been a massive payday for you and you should be his next fight at least if one follows rankings.
Tony Ferguson: Well, the next fight for Conor should be whoever wins this interim lightweight title. Regardless win or lose, if it’s myself or if it’s Kevin Lee, that b**** needs to vacate and he needs to defend that belt. Anything else with as far as I'm trying to fight Nate and everything else that's the bull s*** rankings and everything else that the UFC stands for just goes out the window, man. I mean, really, you have rankings for reason, you have an interm belt for reason, that so that you can unify the thing.
Now, if you mix up a top – I mean, the guy’s, what a top ten, not even a top five, Kevin Lee’s got more heart than Nate and I got more heart than this whole entire division. So, if they want to put that fight together, I mean, that's great. But you know, the fans will be pissed because obviously they know that f****** Diaz and Conor’s going to make a lot of money, but the righteous thing to do is to make sure the belt’s become unified. That's what really need to happen.
Akhilesh Gannavarapu: Absolutely, now that you say that, do you think on his time off does you some good considering it provides other guys like yourself, Kevin Lee and Justin Gaethje the opportunity to step up and make the division your own?
Tony Ferguson: Absolutely not, it's been my division before McNuggets even stepped into this b****. Even when I was at Paradigm Sports Management, he signed-up at 145 pounds and the agreement was he wasn't going to come up to 155 pounds but that raises a conflict of interest. I'm pissed. That b**** needs to fight me or he needs to fight the guy that's holding the belt. So regardless I'm don’t really care. This fight ain’t here I'm even looking at it. Kevin can say he wants to fight Conor and all this other bull s***, but I'm really looking after this fight I'm going to grab a piece of pizza, a beer and I'm gonna enjoy myself because I worked my a** off for this camp. And I'm not really work worried about anybody else's besides Kevin Lee right now.
Akhilesh Gannavarapu: All right, fair enough, Kevin, the next couple questions are for you. Obviously, there's a massive opportunity for you and now all Tony has gone all fight before, this is your first. Texas Tony also showed excellent range control, whose dominant in clinchers and dealt with a takedown threatens last fight. So how do you analyze your next opponent?
Kevin Lee: I'm gonna beat Tony’s bell and whistle, that's what it's about. Now Tony, the mans already over the hill, he's 33. He talked about what you gonna do in the next 12 months. It’s going to be whatever. After this fight they really know my name. People are shocked, are people confused as to why I'm getting this. I said a months ago and I'm saying it again, I feel like I'm the real king around this b****, I’m just 25, I’m just getting started, I keep getting better, he keeps getting worse. So, it don't matter, when you look at our skills and are going to see during open workout.
Tony Ferguson: Keep talking, kid.
Kevin Lee: It ain’t no keep talking, I’m going to keep talking, but to show you. Look, I gave you a chance to say what you're going say, to do your thing.
Tony Ferguson: The only thing you're gonna walk out is in a f****** gurney, Kevin Lee, you f***** yourself, brother, that's what you did.
Kevin Lee: Yes, look.
Tony Ferguson: You're talking s***. And you wanted to be bring family into it so you know what I'm not a punk a** jester, you're dealing with the real f****** Mexican now.
Kevin Lee: Yes, sure, I'm letting you, but I mean s***, like you're doing the talking, so go ahead, keep doing it.
Tony Ferguson: I can't even hear one word you're talking. You need to enunciate.
Akhilesh Gannavarapu: Also, Kevin you know have the chance…
Kevin Lee: Listen, bottom line, folks saying I'm talking, but at the end of the day I didn't part 4 times in last 12 months. I'm taking this fight, no...
Tony Ferguson: I ran out of adjectives, Kevin Lee.
Kevin Lee: Nobody else
Tony Ferguson: You lose in the tournament bracket having to fight your way back. You got knocked out and then he had to fight your f****** back. It's cool, man, enjoy those f****** wins that you have, man, because it's going to end.
Kevin Lee: Yes, sure, again, but I'm still fighting. I mean, when you look at what you get.
Tony Ferguson: Quit Stuttering. Speak up.
Kevin Lee: So it's Barbosa was whipping you’re a**, he b*****d out, like you fought a bunch of b*****s like you went down and I'm telling you right now it ain’t going to happen, so I’m going to see what’s up.
Tony Ferguson: You’re going to be my next b****.
Kevin Lee: All right, let's do it your fighting dude that's already been, he was off the juice, you know, he went already knocked down
Tony Ferguson: Speaking of juice, are you off the juice? Mr. Hormones, f****** buffs.
Akhilesh Gannavarapu: Kevin, just a completely new question, you have the chance to amend yourself as the top lightweight in the UFC now.
Kevin Lee: You said what?
Akhilesh Gannavarapu: You have a chance to amend yourself as a top lightweight in the UFC. You obviously understood the value in marketing yourself well. So, what are your thoughts on being able to talk and to rise up the ranks with the ability to fight inside the cage?
Kevin Lee: Yes, like I said before my last couple fights, title fights. When you look at my opponents, they don’t got a lot of fights in the UFC, but these are some of the toughest dudes. Like, get grounded you want to fight the Russian kid, who want to fight Francisco Trinaldo. Nobody wants to fight them but I did. I'm going down there, I’m taking the tough fight and I'm preparing for them like they’re championship fights anyway, so as far as I'm concerned, people keep asking me I haven't said s*** about McGregor, if anything he can work his way back up to me.
As far as I'm concerned, the man has won one fight in this division and it's against Eddie Alvarez and he is walking around here like a little b****, too. I don’t give him much respect for that. So if you don't want to fight and you're going to take a tune-up fight, if you want to fight Nate Diaz next, you can go ahead and do what you going to do, making money, baby, and I’m gonna make mine the night really worried about it.
Akhilesh Gannavarapu: All right, one question for Demetrious. Obviously there are a lot of questions going into UFC 215 about Ray Borg making weight and the fight was called off for one reason or the other. Any thoughts about fighting Borg at UFC 216?
Demetrious Johnson: No not at all. I'm happy the UFC got it rescheduled super-fast and you know, I'm still worried about myself.
Akhilesh Gannavarapu: All right, so my last question for Ray. Ray, you talked about falling ill. Did you have the flu bug in your camp the last time around. And that being a compounded due to the weather change in Canada. Now the 216 approaching what changes have you made to ensure that you will be 100% healthy going into the fight camp this time around?
Ray Borg: Just staying healthy. Sometimes you just can't put off the inevitable, every one at my camp was sick, my wife is sick, and I was just banking on not catching it. But it happened. There’s not a whole lot you can do, but I'm taking my proper vitamins, taking care of myself is the only but you can't really stop the sickness, just been trucking along doing the same s***.
Akhilesh Gannavarapu: All right, if I can just add one more thing. He said you're not taking nutrition this time around. So how has that process been for you for this particular camp as compared to the other times?
Ray Borg: How is this because I’m not working with a nutritionist?
Akhilesh Gannavarapu: Yes.
Ray Borg: Same as my fights prior, I never had a problem making weight to begin with. I tried to add on nutritionist to help me out just because I was getting a little bit older, the weight was getting a little bit tougher to cut. But I just went back to doing the same s*** that got me to the show and I’m not working with anybody this time around this because one thing people don't understand is it wasn't a weight issue, just legitimately sick. If it was a weight issue then when Dana would’ve had his doctors come down they would've told him it was a weight issue but the doctors did not have me fight because I was actually sick.
So, in this sense there’s not much of a point for a nutritionist because I didn't come home and blow up ten pounds and eat burgers all day. I came home rested, made sure I was eating the right foods to make sure I was feeling better. My weight pretty much stayed the same. It’s never a problem to begin with. So my weight from then stay the same been issued at all. In future fights, this weekend, next weekend coming up, so just been the same thing is done for years and years.
I never had a nutritionist leading up to the UFC, getting into the UFC, never having a nutritionist the first few fights. Just doing things my own, I know my body more than any nutritionist ever will, so it's just deciding to do things by myself and how I used to do them.
Akhilesh Gannavarapu: All right, understood, thank you guys, appreciate the time.
Operator: Next question comes from Jeffrey Harris, 411 Mania MMA.
Jeffrey Harris: Good afternoon everyone. thank you for joining us today. First question for Demetrious Johnson. Would you say Ray Borg still deserves his title shot in light of what happened at the UFC 215 and do you think it maybe would have been better for you to wait to fight the winter of Sergio Pettis versus Henry Cejudo?
Demetrious Johnson: No, I think he deserves it. I mean, guys, it's only been four weeks and nothing’s changed. He got sick and it happens. It has happened multiple times and not just in the division but in other divisions. If I’m successful in defending my belt next weekend, then I will fight the winner of Cedric Pettis and Henry Cejudo, so I don’t see no difference.
Jeffrey Harris: So, Ray, there were a lot of questions coming out of what happened with UFC 215 and you did part ways with the nutritionist you are talking about a lot before the fight with Perfecting Athletes. So, why did you part ways with your old nutritionist if it was not a weight cutting issue?
Ray Borg: I’m going to go ahead and going to say this on record, the ladies at Perfecting Athletes are awesome ladies. They truly know what they're doing. They made my weight cut in Brazil so easy that I didn't even believe them with a on fight week when they were telling me to do certain things. I didn't believe in them that it would work but it worked in they did an amazing job. The reason for parting ways with Perfecting Athletes went a lot more in-depth then what people know and I really don't wish to discuss and something you're not going to get me to discuss has nothing to do with the weight issue. It's a little bit more than that. It's a lot more than that. It had nothing to do with the weight issue. It was more – it was different and I really am not wishing to touch base right now. Maybe in the future you can pull it out of me, but not right now.
Jeffrey Harris: Ray come are you positive that flyweight is the best place for you since you are still just 24 and you have this missed weight twice in the past, are you sure 125 is where you want to stay for right now?
Ray Borg: Yes, it makes sense. In all honesty I am only 24 and 4 years from now, 5 years from now, I don't know where my body is going to be. I don't know how my body is going to react. So, I can’t say for the future, but for right now it doesn't make sense because most fighters, most bantamweights, I know a lot of bantamweights that walk around at like 155 are and above. Not trying to cut weight just naturally getting in shape, my body just gets down to 136, 137 easy. And that's pretty small for bantamweight if you ask me. So, it makes sense to stay here for me right now.
Jeffrey Harris: Okay, and next question for Kevin Lee, both you and Tony are actually I would say pretty strong submission specialist. How do you match up with Tony’s submission skills and do you expect the fight going to the ground and in type of grappling battles in this fight?
Kevin Lee: Yes, for sure, the fight gonna take place everywhere. We got different styles even though we might even come from the same background. He believes in a little bit different philosophy than I do. And I’m going to show that I think I’m the best grappler, the best MMA grappler that there is. I think I blend a lot of different styles together. So if you want to play that game, we can. it's gonna be everywhere. It's going to be from pillar to post. It's a real fight in the lightweight division, when you look at our skill.
Kevin Lee: Go ahead, go ahead, the floor is yours, big boy…
Jeffrey Harris: And for Tony, what do you think of Kevin Lee in terms of his graphing and his other fighting skills?
Tony Ferguson: He's got good grappling, but not as good as mine. He never did as well as I did in college. He has always been following my footsteps, man. He’s trying to do the same thing…Motown is the fakest dude I know. He talked his way it up to get to a title fight and he’s not going to be able to talk his way out of the f****** cage. When that door locks...
Kevin Lee: Ok, I got 11 UFC fights at the age of 25. Where the talking coming in at. I mean were to talk,
I'm just saying.
Tony Ferguson: I'm gonna knock you down with that. I'm going to knock you straight down like that. You're gonna get knocked out with my jab. I’m going to test that chin again. And wait until you shoot on me, I'm going put you’re a** in snap down city and choke your a*** out.
Kevin Lee: You’ve been knocked down more than me. What are you talking about? Do you even watch your own fights? What are you talking about?
Tony Ferguson: Did you see yourself get finished by a Jui-Jitsu black belt
Kevin Lee: We're gonna see, your talk about some s*** for three years that the two or three years ago, if you think I'm the same man, especially when I was only 22 or 23 at the time. If you think I'm the same person, the go-ahead then you might be surprised.
Tony Ferguson: You are the same person.
Kevin Lee: All right, we'll see.
Tony Ferguson: You are the same fighter I've been watching, you know, it's funny, you watch me like a hawk. I got you scared.
Kevin Lee: Yes, I've been watching all you mother f****** and you been watching me too.
Tony Ferguson: I know exactly what you're going to do. I studied you beforehand, man, already knew exactly how to beat you when I stepped on foot inside.
Kevin Lee: I got you, I’ve been doing something for you. I been studying your game, but studying on all your games and I know you been studying mine. Good thing is the difference between me and you is…
Tony Ferguson: No, they're trying to make a star off me, they always try to make stars off me but the one thing...
Kevin Lee: You’ve been watching me since we fought...
Tony Ferguson: …you're writing checks your body can't cash. Your porcelain chin is going to get toasted again…
Kevin Lee: …look, look, look. You knew that we was fighting on August 1st and you were still trying to call out the Khabib even then. You're looking for the easier fight even then. But you been watching me since we fought on the same card in San Diego.
Tony Ferguson: …nobody ain't dodging nobody, nobody doing nothing.
Kevin Lee: I mean, hey numbers don't lie. That's what you did. You ain't do it.
Tony Ferguson: I ran out of a** to kick. I ran out of a** to kick. That’s it. I was going to finish the entire division but I had to settle for a f****** number seven.
Kevin Lee: Okay. And you was still looking to fight the Khabib which you know is the easier fight. If you don't think that Khabib is the easier fight then. Come on man.
Tony Ferguson: The easy fight is Chiesa bro. Come on. Fight somebody real.
Kevin Lee: Watch. Watch how I do. All right. What are you talking about? Like I accepted to fight you before I even renegotiated my contract. So, I don't know what you're trying to say. That I'm backing away from the fight. I'm the one that was looking - I was the one pushing for the fight with you.
Tony Ferguson: What I'm trying to say is you’re going to get your a** kicked.
Tony Ferguson: …Why don't you hush. Just wait. Just wait till you taste the leather of my jab. You're going to f****** hit the ground so f****** fast I'm going to snag that neck, I'm going to choke you’re a** out.
Kevin Lee: Okay.
Jeffrey Harris: And last one for Tony, what do you think about where Khabib Nurmagomedov is right
now and do you think he still needs to prove himself…
Tony Ferguson: He’s having a piece of tiramisu over in Russia, that's what he's doing. He's having two for two Tuesdays. Oh wait today's Thursday. It's four for Thursdays. F****** fat a**.
Jeffery Harris: Well what I mean is do you think he needs to prove himself in another fight in that he can make weight without any issues considering his last two issues? The fight that he was scheduled to have with you and the other time he missed weight before in the UFC.
Tony Ferguson: I don't know. I don't really give two f***s about that dude. He had his opportunity to fight with me and, you know what? Instead I had to settle for Kevin Lee. No, this dude, I mean, I respect him, I give him credit for stepping up to the plate and I said he's got more heart than half of these dudes in the top five.
But with that being said I'm not Khabib, I will never try to be like Khabib, I'm glad I'm not even trying to even talk about Khabib because this dude's got issues and he's worried about me. He's pissed off at the fact that Kevin Lee and myself are going to be fighting for that belt and he's not. He missed out on his opportunity. You can't be messing around like that. A fighter fights.
Jeffery Harris: Thank you gentlemen and good luck with your fights.
Operator: Next question comes from Kel Dansby with ABC 13 Las Vegas.
Kel Dansby: Hello guys. Thanks for taking the time out. First question is for Demetrious. Demetrious, coming into this fight a lot of people have been saying your name, the lotto, people wanted to drop down to fight you from heavier weight classes. Do you feel like you have that bullseye on your back?
Demetrious Johnson: Seems like it.
Kel Dansby: And with that being said after this fight are you looking to welcome someone down to your division or try to take someone else's belt.
Demetrious Johnson: To be honest with you I'm just worried about this fight. Get through this and then I'll sit down with the higher brass of the UFC and my management and then we'll see what makes the most sense.
Kel Dansby: All right. Next question for Tony. Tony, looking forward if you become champion do you feel like…
Tony Ferguson: When.
Kel Dansby: …when you become champion do you buy into the hype of the whole red panty night scenario? We've seen other people…
Tony Ferguson: No I don't understand that. I don't like red. I like blue. That's my color. But red panty, green panty, it don't f****** matter. Whoever they put in front of me and my first manager told me, he's like Tony you make your money by winning and that's Brock Lesner's manager. Everything else is going to fall into place. And I've kept that same attitude. I signed with new management and I kept that same attitude. I'm not changing anytime soon.
Kevin Lee: Except when they offer you Michael Johnson then and then you back out, then you run away, then you just take the money and run. Come on. Hey, look I always give Tony respect…
Tony Ferguson: When they offer Michael Johnson and deduct my pay by three quarters…
Tony Ferguson: …look money didn't make sense, the dollars didn't make it right, but I got to fight and you’re a** is going to go night-night.
Kevin Lee: Okay. That's a good little nursery rhyme but again as a fighter and as a competitor I had to take it away from you? You should've stepped up, you should've took that fight with Mike. If it was me and they would've…
Tony Ferguson: I did my part, look at it.
Tony Ferguson: Mike already know…
Kevin Lee: …you know.
Tony Ferguson: …finish his a**. You ask him straight up and he'll tell you straight up. I've had conversations with Mike.
Kevin Lee: Okay. Would've, should've, could've.
Tony Ferguson: You're a boy. You're a kid. I'm going to send you packing bro. You're going to go back to…
Kevin Lee: Would've, should've, could've, would've, should've, could've. You bring up my age a lot. I think there’s a little bit of resentment there because, you know…
Tony Ferguson: …what about this…
Kevin Lee: 25, ..that far.
Tony Ferguson: …you're everything that's like that and you just and you talk too f****** much and I can't wait to hit you and let you hit the f****** pavement man. Like straight up. I can't wait to drop you with my jab. And just wait. I've been out there in the Big Bear Mountain f****** doing crazy s*** that you have you no f****** clue. It don't matter whose puts in front of me. You’re a** is going to be mincemeat kid.
Kevin Lee: Okay. I mean, even when we got into it at Fox, I mean, it seem like you like to do the talking more than me. So, I'll let you go on…
Tony Ferguson: …talking. You talk so much you're not even funny. You start about all this mic time. You think mic time's going save you? Get out of here.
Kel Dansby: Kevin…
Kevin Lee: All right.
Kel Dansby: …the next question is for you.
Kevin Lee: Yes.
Kel Dansby: How much do you put into rankings? And we've seen other champions - we've seen recently Cody Garbrandt, you guys have both talked about Conor McGregor just taking his first fight and winning a title at the division. Do you feel any pressure as Tony constantly talks about you being number seven and you not fighting anyone. Do you feel pressure because of that? Do you embrace that? Does it fuel you going into fights like this?
Kevin Lee: Yes, it don't really matter. I don't see why even other fights are putting them rankings they don't matter. Y'all make the rankings. I don't give a f*** about them rankings. The only thing everybody above in this division got on me is some years, is some time. That's it. So, when you looking at the rankings they don't really matter. You look at some of these dudes in the top 25 and top 30, they tough enough. They'll beat any of the guys in the top 5.
So, you know, they got Nick Diaz who's got 11 losses in a top 5. It don't make sense. They got Justin Gaethje who only got one fight against, apparently beating Mike Johnson in this game is really something because you got Khabib up there at number one and don't fight. You got Gaethje one fight up above me. The rankings don’t really mean s***. So, you can say I'm number seven, you can say whatever you want to say. I say I'm number one and this fight on October 7th.
Kel Dansby: Last question and it's for both of you guys. Tony, you can answer it first. Will you guys be watching that Gaethje fight versus Alvarez and do you guys consider that a number one contender fight or when you walk out with the belt?
Kevin Lee: I watch every fight. I study everybody in the division. I'm going to watch that fight but again they going to beat each other into retirement. They’re both out their slurring words already. So, am I really looking forward to that fight? No, I mean, a little bit but not really. Eddie's been around here in Las Vegas for a little bit. He's been kind of giving me props, even he wants to shine my shoes the other day. So maybe Eddie will come out on top if I give him a chance but I got to see why the Gaethje people like they really get excited about it.
I like the challenges. Tony Ferguson was a big challenge. Nobody's been able to figure out that style and that rhythm and the man's got a lot of heart so I like the big challenges. As far as Eddie and Justin they're not really big challenges so I don't know. Maybe after that fight they'll prove something.
Kel Dansby: Tony you can answer.
Tony Ferguson: I didn't know they were fighting. I don't give two f***s. The only thing I worry about is UFC 216.
Kel Dansby: All right. Thank you guys.
Operator: Next question comes from Rodney James Edgar with MMA Latest News.
Rodney James Edgar: Hey good afternoon y'all. This is Rodney James with MMA Latest News. What's up Mighty Mouse? How you doing buddy? There's been a lot of discussion about your promotion. That conversation has come from all angles, from the media to fans, from the UFC. How well do you think the UFC did in promoting your main event at UFC 215?
Demetrious Johnson: 215's behind us now. I thought I did a good job. We may have built that card basically around that and we had a sold-out crowd and I did all my media obligations I went up to Edmonton and did all that stuff. Now, with UFC 216 they're seeing a lot of commercials and they've been hyping it up. So even though we're not the main event I feel their engagement in this fight is still good.
Rodney James Edgar: Okay and that answers my next question. I was going to say the same about 216. Thank you champ.
Ray Borg, so we've heard you speak very few times since 215 was canceled. On this call you've mentioned a few times that you were sick. Can you actually tell us what the diagnosis was? I've never heard that. What was the diagnosis for your illness?
Ray Borg: The diagnosis? I don't f****** know. I'm not a doctor. He just told me that I had a flu virus and that was it. I was throwing up, I had the shakes, I had the shivers and it wasn't like no weight cutting type sickness. I just got the flu and that was it. I'm not a doctor so I can't really diagnose it. I mean, you can call the doctor. Did that answer your question?
Rodney James Edgar: You did, you did. That's what I was looking for. So, who was the final decision authority? You said they didn't clear you to fight. The doctors had the final decision authority?
Ray Borg: Yes, we were still trying to cut weight as I was sick. We were trying to make it to the fight. It wasn't me saying oh I'm sick, I don't feel good, I can't fight, someone please call a doctor. We were cutting weight and then they got wind that I was sick. The UFC got wind that I was sick and this goes deeper than what you guys need to know.
And the UFC doctors got wind that I was sick so Dana sent his doctor and I can't remember his doctor's name off the top of my head but he was flow into Canada. He came into the room. He checked me out, did his whole doctor examination s*** and deemed me unfit to fight. So, it was his call, not mine.
Rodney James Edgar: Okay. Thank you Ray.
All right next question is for Tony Ferguson. The initial clash between you and Kevin Lee that took place live on air immediately following Chiesa versus Lee, you showed a little bit of reluctance to fight him. I don't mean because you're afraid of him or anything like that but because of his ranking you said that he was a little bit too far on the rankings he needs to get some more wind in order to step up to your level. But then shortly after that this fight was made. So, what changed? Because that's a pretty drastic change.
Tony Ferguson: Khabib's b**** a** didn't want to show up so we had to figure out something. My shelf life is great. I might be 33 but I f****** move quicker than Kevin Lee could ever move. And he was the only one that wanted to sign a dotted line so now we got to fight.
Rodney James Edgar: Okay. Good answers. So, I see that you've been training up at Big Bear. That's kind of the go-to. What's it been like up there and what's the weather like? Tell us what…
Tony Ferguson: It's f****** cold, it's dark, I'm running with the bears and the coyotes and I'm a f****** roadrunner man. I've been out there literally climbing thousands and thousands of feet every single day with 50-pound packs and once I get to the top I'm doing mitts and I'm flipping boulders and I'm carrying this s***. I'm being a Neanderthal man. I'm a mountain man right now so any of all this boujie s*** that's going to try to bring me down, I'm putting it to the side and I just can't wait till next week when I get my hands on this kid.
Rodney James Edgar: Okay thanks.
And last question is for the Motown Phenom, Kevin Lee. You stated earlier when we spoke here at UFC Performance institute during the media day there that you wanted to fight Khabib. You also said that you don't think McGregor will be willing to fight by December even though he claims that he will Dana White also said that. So, do you still see Khabib as your next most likely opponent?
Kevin Lee: I've been wanting to fight Khabib just because he could've been a easy fight. That's the name of the game, the most amount of money for the easiest fight. I've been calling his a** out for over a year. He's going to keep downplaying, all he do is going to keep downplaying me. I mean, that the whole thing started with me and Tony.
When they try and downplay me it's like all right, it's cool but they’ll see October 7th so yes but, I'm going to talk my way into the next fight too and the word I’m going to say is yes. When they call me and they want me to fight I'm going to say yes and I'm going to say yes to the toughest challenges. If that's Khabib, you know, a lot of people think that he's the number one contender for some reason. So, I like that challenge. I like to go out there and shut them down especially if the dude is undefeated.
Rodney James Edgar: Thanks. And speaking of the UFC Performance Institute that's a very new facility and I see that fighters like you and some of your teammates that have been taking advantage of using that facility. Can you tell us a little bit about that? It looks pretty amazing.
Kevin Lee: Yes, I'm here right now. I just got done doing a little bit of work. You know, we fine tuning things. The hard work is already done. So, I'm young but I own this so I've been here. I've been walking around here with my own every day. I'm here more than the staff is so it's amazing. It's open pretty much all day to me. Look, it ain't no better place in the world to train. It's got everything that you could need. So, I'm taking full advantage of it and I told them when they first opened it that I would.
Rodney James Edgar: All right. Thanks Kevin.
Operator: Our final question comes from Nicholas Peralta with MMAWreckage.com.
Nicholas Peralta: How you doing? Thank you guys for taking the call. I appreciate it.
Demetrious Johnson, my first question is for you. There was a little bit of controversy following UFC 215. I know you probably are tired of getting these questions about it but you never actually were able to iterate whether or not you were actually paid your show money for UFC 215. Were you?
Demetrious Johnson: I was not. We worked it out. First my management took care of me and so did the UFC so they got the fight scheduled within four weeks and typically in the past when a fighter doesn't make weight happened to him, Tony Ferguson it happened to him where didn’t make weight but even though Tony Ferguson made weight his fight wasn't being rescheduled so quick. So, with this fight only being four weeks different, there's no - that's like a rule that they have. So, to answer your question no they - we're fighting next Saturday.
Nicholas Peralta: And was there a contingency plan for this fight in case Borg or yourself for whatever reason were unable to make it to this fight but next Saturday? Or if Borg was unable to make weight?
Demetrious Johnson: No.
Nicholas Peralta: And Ray Borg, question for you. If the worst should happen and you are unable to make weight what would be the end result for you?
Ray Borg: If I show up and I don't make weight what's the end result?
Nicholas Peralta: Yes. Well for you personally
Ray Borg: I don't see that happening so it's hard to even imagine what would happen. I guess if I'm going to play the what if game, I imagine they would make me go up to 35. But that's not going to happen. I'm not going to miss weight. So, it's hard to really think about what would happen but if we're playing the what if game then, what if I miss weight, then I imagine I'll have to move up to 35.
Nicholas Peralta: And what would it mean for you to win the flyweight championship next Saturday given all the controversy that has surrounded you?
Ray Borg: It would obviously feel good but it doesn't change just because there's a lot of controversy since UFC 215. Nothing has changed in my mind. My mind is still to go out there and win that belt. There's nothing else that's going to change just because some s*** happened between now and then doesn't mean I'm going to have a different approach and try to go in there to prove all these Twitter fans and all these haters wrong. I'm going in there for myself. I always fight for myself and for my family, not for the fans. I fight for myself. If the fans like what they see then great that's a plus for me but I'm going out there for me so nothing has changed between now and then.
Nicholas Peralta: Thanks Borg. And for Kevin Lee quick question: what was the extent of your relationship with Ferguson during your time at Grand Valley State University?
Kevin Lee: We didn't really have much of a relationship. I just knew about the guy and I always gave him respect even before I really knew him and then he don't want to retaliate and so I'm like getting my respect. When I knock him down, when I hurt him then after the fight he going to shake my hand he going to give me the respect. So, I mean, it wasn't really much of a relationship.
I only go for a couple of years. That's where our styles differ in the first place. I was already fighting as I was wrestling at the same time. I was fighting as an amateur, I was fighting as a pro my sophomore year and then I stopped after that because I had bigger goals and bigger dreams than just being a national champion of a bum a** school.
Rodney James Edgar: All right and my last question is for Ferguson. Ferguson, you haven't been able to fight in about a year based not being able to fight earlier this year. Has that at all hindered you or do you feel like the time off has been any bit of a blessing?
Tony Ferguson: Oh absolutely. I had a ten-month camp for this guy. This b**** is in trouble.
Rodney James Edgar: All right awesome. Thank you.
Kevin Lee: Yes that makes…
Tony Ferguson: Sure.
Dave Lockett: I'd like to thank everyone for participating in today's conference call. Just a reminder for next week, the UFC 216 Ultimate Media Day will take place next Wednesday, October 4th from noon to 2:00 pm in the upper concourse at T-Mobile Arena. UFC 216 open workouts will take place next Thursday, October 5th from 12:30 to 3:00 pm at the Shiva Plaza and UFC 216 weigh-ins will take place next Friday October 6th at 5:00 pm at T-Mobile Arena. Looking forward to seeing everybody next week. Have a good day.