Participating in his first interview since losing the belt to Cejudo in Los Angeles, Johnson (27-3-1) made an appearance on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show and provided a full update on his health, including his injured right knee.
"There's no broken bones but there's still a little swelling," Johnson told Helwani. "I got the MRI results. I have a high-grade partial tear in my LCL. Right now, I'm suffering from pain in my lower calf area ... I can't even sleep at night. I'm waking up, just sweating in bed. I saw the UFC Performance Institute doctor, the physiotherapist, and I have a possible tear in my Achilles into my calf, [but] that's not for certain. I need to see how high the grade is for the tears.
"I don't think I should [need surgery] but it all depends on the severity of the tear," Johnson continued. "Because when I get MRIs it says hybrid partial tear on the LCL. So is that Grade 1, Grade 2 or Grade 3? Typically Grade 3, you need surgery. Grade 2 is six weeks off and rehab. It's feeling like a Grade 2 because I've had a tear in my left LCL before. In the fight, when it happened, I felt the pop go and the first thing that went through my head was, 'Oh, that's fantastic, there goes the right LCL.'"
There is no timetable for Johnson's return. As a longtime champion, it's possible he'll receive an immediate title rematch against Cejudo. The new champion has also expressed interest in facing UFC bantamweight titlist TJ Dillashaw either at flyweight or by moving up in weight.