Although nothing has been confirmed, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and bantmweight titleholder T.J. Dillashaw are in talks for a champ vs. champ superfight at UFC 226, where Daniel Cormier will challenge Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title in the main event.
Dillashaw, who has opted to move down to flyweight to challenge Johnson in his native division, is determined to knock ‘Mighty Mouse’ off the top spot and cement himself as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
“What it comes down to is that I think I am the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and to do that I have to beat the best and I can make his weight class which will prove that I am the best fighter in the world,” Dillashaw told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, per MMA Mania’s Adam Guillen Jr.
Johnson, 31, has etched his name into the history books and the top pound-for-pound rankings, having defended his 125-pound championship a record-breaking eleven times, surpassing MMA legend Anderson Silva in his most recent title defense against Ray Borg at UFC 216.
Dillashaw, who broke into the top-ten p4p rankings with his knockout win over ex-teammate Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217, believes he is capable of defending both the flyweight and bantamweight belts after dethroning ‘DJ’.
“If I can do it, absolutely. If they let me do it, I want to be active as long as I am healthy and ready to go. I want to fall back right away, as soon as I win this belt — the 125 belt —- and get back to work. I’ll come off and become the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, double champ, I got to a lot to pay off with, you know?”
That’s all well and good, but Johnson, who has ruled the flyweight division for almost six years, doesn’t think Dillashaw is in his league.
Speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto earlier this month, the all-time great said Dillashaw shouldn’t even be in the top pound-for-pound discussion.
“I’ve been a champion for five years. He hasn’t been a champion for a year yet,” Johnson stated. “If he were to beat me, and everyone would say, ‘Oh, he’s the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world!’ and the next thing you know, he gets knocked out in a bantamweight fight, I would say that ‘reign’ would be cheap. It’s not warranted.”