Fans, fighters, and the media wanted to see T.J. Dillashaw drop down to 125-pounds to take on pound-for-pound No. 1 Demetrious Johnson in a champion vs. champion superfight. But instead, Dillashaw will defend his bantamweight title against ex-teammate turned rival Cody Garbrandt in an immediate rematch at UFC 227.
While Dillashaw doesn’t feel Garbrandt deserves the rematch after having been knocked out in the second round of their co-headlining bout at UFC 217, ‘Killashaw’ says it makes sense from a business perspective.
“I don’t think in any form does Cody deserve the rematch,” Dillashaw told Ariel Helwani on a recent edition of The MMA Hour (h/t Dave Doyle of MMA Fighting). “But I’m happy to do it. The UFC obviously wants it. So I mean, if they want it, they’re going to pump this up. For whatever reason they want to put Cody in there. I think it’s a great fight for me. He doesn’t deserve it whatsoever on the sport side of it. But I’m a businessman and I’m going to go out there and put him away.”
Dillashaw, 32, says there’s still some bad blood between himself and Garbrandt and is hoping to squash the beef for good after he KO’s ‘No Love’ again at UFC 227.
“There’s still some built-up animosity, you know?” he said. “It’s not going to just go away all of a sudden. You know he should be, he’s pushing for this title fight, he wants this, he wants that, but, in all reality, I mean, I don’t think he realizes how much is on the line. What’s he going to do after I knock him out two times in a row?”
Dillashaw, a two-time UFC bantamweight champ, expects to put an even bigger exclamation point on the rematch by dominating and finishing Garbrandt in a similar fashion to his championship rematch with Renan Barao, when he outclassed and KO’d the Brazilian at UFC on FOX 16.
“Immediate rematches or rematches in general, I don’t know if they ever really do change,” Dillashaw said. “I see myself winning this fight even easier. Just like with the Barao situation, I went out there and won the second time even easier.”
UFC 227: Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2 takes place this Summer, August 4 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.