Two weeks ago, UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt was reportedly uncertain to make July’s UFC 213 pay-per-view with a back injury, and now it’s been made official that he’s out. With Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw off, that opens the door for the former bantamweight champion to move down to flyweight and take on the sport’s pound-for-pound best, Demetrious Johnson. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto relayed this information on Tuesday night’s SportsCenter.
Dana White also tells me Cody Garbrandt is officially off UFC 213 and that plan is to have TJ Dillashaw fight Demetrious Johnson in August.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 24, 2017
Dillashaw had immediate interest in taking on the reigning flyweight champion after news of Garbrandt’s injury first surfaced, but Johnson didn’t seem particularly interested in the idea. Johnson (26-2-1) is coming off an armbar win over Wilson Reis at UFC on FOX 24 in April, moving him into a tie with Anderson Silva for most consecutive title defenses in UFC history, with ten. Dillashaw (14-3) has beaten Raphael Assuncao and John Lineker since losing his bantamweight strap to Dominick Cruz. The 31-year-old has never competed at flyweight before.
According to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, Johnson vs. Dillashaw is targeted for Seattle, Washington. “Mighty Mouse” trains at Matt Hume’s gym in Kirkland, and grew up in Parkland, which is south of Seattle. It would easily be the biggest and most high-profile title fight of Johnson’s extraordinary career.
UFC would like to do Demetrious Johnson x TJ Dillashaw for the 125 title 8/19 in Seattle, but it's not done yet, sources say. Borg = plan b.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 24, 2017
As far as UFC 213 is concerned, replacing Garbrandt-Dillashaw is an interim middleweight title fight between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker. Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko has been promoted to main event status.