Former Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight Kajan Johnson has been officially let go by the promotion after suffering back-to-back losses to Islam Makhachev in July and most recently to Rustam Khabilov in Moscow last month.
The 34 year-old had actually gone on a four-fight win streak inside the Octagon before his losing skid and had attempted to renegotiate his contract with the UFC before his fight against Khabilov. “Ragin’” was unsuccessful, with the UFC opting for him to fight out his current contract.
After the loss, the UFC informed Johnson they would not re-sign him and he recently spoke to Bloody Elbow on the negotiations believing the promotion had no intention of offering him a new contract.
“I’m pretty sure they were planning on letting me go, anyway,” Johnson said. “I had pretty much rectified and accepted that that was gonna be my last fight in the UFC. I was still talking to Sean and trying to get a new deal done, but they just said it didn’t align with them.
“They said they didn’t really know what to do with me at that point,” Johnson added. “I was hopeful, but I realized it was a very, very slim chance — maybe one-percent chance — that I would get re-signed.”
While it was not expressly given as a reason for his release, Johnson, like fellow former UFC fighter Leslie Smith, is a vocal advocate for fighters’ rights and a member of Project Spearhead, an organization working to unionize UFC fighters. A return to the Octagon is not out of the question according to Johnson, although with the number of fighters vying for a spot on the roster, he doesn’t like his chances.
“There’s just so many fighters out there,” he said. “They still wouldn’t need me. I’m not Conor McGregor. I’m not gonna fill a f-cking stadium. I don’t represent an entire demographic of people that are gonna fly across the world and come to the show.”
In his last fight for the UFC, Johnson trolled UFC President Dana White at the weigh-ins when he went to shake his hand, withdrawing it when White put his out to the delight of fans. It was all fun and games as Johnson and White laughed it off and shook hands after.