T.J. Dillashaw is scheduled for a championship rematch with ex-teammate Cody Garbrandt at UFC 227, but the two-time bantamweight champion was originally hyped to fight pound-for-pound No. 1 Demetrious Johnson at 125 lbs.
It took some convincing from Dillashaw, but Johnson eventually warmed up the idea and expressed interest in a champ vs. champ superfight with TJ to cement his status as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
So, why didn’t it happen?
According to Dillashaw, who recently spoke with the media to hype his upcoming title fight with Garbrandt, that question should be directed at ‘Mighty Mouse’.
“I don’t really know,” Dillashaw said, per MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi. “I think that’s a good question for Demetrious Johnson. Maybe he wanted some guaranteed money. Maybe he wasn’t willing to gamble on himself on the pay-per-view numbers. But as far as I was concerned, the fans wanted it, the UFC wanted it. Everyone knows I wanted it. I respect Demetrious Johnson as a person and as an athlete and that’s kind of why I was chasing him down. He’s got that target on his back. He’s got that pound-for-pound spot that I want to come in and take. Not only to make the big bucks on a big fight, but for the legacy. Chasing that spot down. So really I think it’s a question for him why it didn’t really happen.”
The next best thing for Dillashaw was a rematch with ‘No Love’, but the 32-year-old is still interested in a superfight with ‘DJ’ in the long run.
“He’s got that spot and I’m looking to take it,” Dillashaw said of Johnson. “Our fight is ahead of us that we gotta worry about. And we’ll talk about it after the fight.
“I would love to do it at ’25, because I don’t want the excuse of me being the bigger man. Oh, the only reason why he beat me is because he’s bigger than me.’ I can make your weight, I’m not bigger than you.”
For now, Dillashaw has his hands full with Garbrandt, who he will take on in a championship headlining bout at UFC 227. The pay-per-view takes place later this year, August 4 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.