Kajan Johnson has won two straight fights, and is one of Canada’s most experienced fighters, and yet, his bout today at UFC 215 will open the card. Why is that? Well, according to the lightweight vet, it’s because he spoke out against the promotion’s Reebok uniform deal, earlier this.
Johnson will battle Adriano Martins in the first bout of today’s event, which is going down in Edmonton, Alberta. Earlier this year, the Canadian made headlines throughout MMA, when he criticized the Reebok uniform deal, at the UFC’s Fighter Summit, in front of his fellow fighters, and company officials.
Well, when asked about his Fight Pass, prelim spot this week, Johnson had this to say about the situation (quote via MMA Fighting):
“When I saw that, I knew right away they were trying to send a message,” Johnson said. “You look all up and down the card, and see some of the guys who are placed higher and there’s no doubt they’re looking to put me in my place.”
“I’ve said stuff that need to be said,” Johnson added. “Someone needs to do it. I talk a lot, I’m not afraid to express myself and I don’t want to be the type of person who goes through life regretting the fact I didn’t stand up for myself. I might not be the guy who gets this over the finish line, but at least I’ve helped get the ball rolling.”
Now, UFC reps might argue that Johnson’s placement is due to the fact he hasn’t fought since 2015. But, when you consider the fact he’s Canadian, and that he competed on Team Canada for TUF Nations, it is somewhat surprising that Johnson’s in the opening slot no? It’s also worth noting that Johnson continues to be involved in the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association.
Today’s bout is a big one for the 33 year-old Johnson, as a win over Martins would move his UFC record to 3-1. Martins, on the other hand, has gone 4-2 to date in the Octagon.