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UFC 216's Ray Borg says he brings 'will to win' no one has before against Demetrious Johnson

LAS VEGAS – Ray Borg wasn’t exactly happy with the backlash after he had to pull out of his original title encounter with Demetrious Johnson. But, as he prepares for a second chance, he’s putting all of it aside.

Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) was set to meet flyweight kingpin Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) at UFC 215 in September, but illness forced him out of the title bout less than 12 hours before the fighters were supposed to hit the scale. While Borg said the situation wasn’t weight-cut-related, many – from fans to some of his colleagues – were quick to tie the two things together.

Borg, who’d missed weight for two 125-pound UFC meetings before, quickly saw himself under online fire for the withdrawal. And the flyweight contender didn’t take it quietly.

As he prepares for Saturday’s UFC 216, however, Borg seems to be taking somewhat of a “haters gonna hate” approach to the ordeal.

“There’s a little bit of anger,” Borg told MMAjunkie ahead of the pay-per-view co-headliner, which airs on pay-per-view from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “But, at the same time, if people don’t know who you are and talk crap about you, you haven’t made it yet.

“So, at the same time, I just take it with a strong mind and move forward and not pay attention to people who work a 9-to-5 do.”

Despite the added drama, Borg says the emotion heading into this meeting is exactly the same as any other fight week. There’s been a process to get here, Borg says, but letting that get to him in any capacity would only affect his display on the biggest fight of his career.

In any case, it’s not like he needed any extra fuel heading into it.

“The motivation is always there,” Borg said. “I don’t get paid my full purse if I don’t make weight. I can’t get bumped up if I don’t make weight. And the money is always better when you win fights. That’s more motivation than I need.”

As far as the game plan goes, Borg says, things haven’t changed much with the extra weeks he got to prepare for the do-over. Mostly, he and his camp used the extra time to make sure the weight stayed low and add some “tools into the toolbox.”

Of course, Borg thinks he can take Johnson’s crown. But the UFC’s first and only flyweight titleholder has heard that a few times before – more precisely, 10 times in a row. Everyone who’s tried has failed. What makes Borg think that he’s going to be the one to get the job done?

“I really feel like I bring in this resilience and this will to win that no one else has brought in,” Borg said. “No one’s really seen D.J. the way I’ve seen him in my life – as the goal. The belt’s always been the goal. D.J. has always been the belt holder. So, in my eyes, he’s always been my goal to beat.

“I really feel like no one really has quite the style that I bring in. No one really does.”

To hear from Borg, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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