Demetrious Johnson’s shoulder surgery earlier this month was a success, and now he hopes to get healthy in time to headline UFC on FOX 8 in July.
“We’re right on track to hopefully fight on that card,” he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) on Thursday. “I’m not going to rush my rehab so I can fight on that card. But right now, I think four months out for that card is good.”
Top billing isn’t a requirement, however. The UFC flyweight champ said he’ll take the co-main-event slot if a headliner is needed to fire up the promotional machine.
He’s got enough on his plate: six weeks of rehab, and, oh yeah, a baby.
His wife, Destiny, is expected to give birth to a son one week prior to the network-televised event, which is set for July 27 at KeyArena in Seattle.
“We were scared that I was going to miss the baby’s birth, but it gives me an opportunity to be home,” he said. “Everything will be fine.”
And if it isn’t, he said, she’ll get induced before he walks into the cage.
Johnson (17-2-1 MMA, 5-1-1 UFC) was set to defend his title against John Moraga (12-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) on April 13 at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, but he discovered three labrum tears when pain in training prompted an MRI.
Johnson hates pain pills but took them for three days to aid the healing process after surgery. Now, he attends rehab sessions at a clinic twice a week and does exercises twice a day at home.
The OK to fight at UFC on FOX 8 will come if he can train in six weeks without significant pain. Johnson anticipates Moraga will be his opponent.
“As long as my shoulder doesn’t hurt, (trainer) Matt (Hume) will make the decision and let the UFC know we want on that card,” Johnson said. “The UFC already knows we do, but we want to see how rehab goes first.
“I would love to headline, but at the same time, I know they have to get ticket sales ready. If they can wait until I’m A-OK, then I’d love to headline the card, but I don’t want them to wait on me. As long as I can fight, I’ll be happy.”
For the latest on UFC on FOX 8, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.