After a false alarm leak, Demetrious Johnson released a statement saying that a Champ Champ fight with TJ Dillashaw still isn’t official yet. But hey, don’t tell Dillashaw that. He’s been training since early December now and is steamrolling ahead like the fight is tomorrow. This is a giant scrap for both fighters and could be one of the most high-level displays of MMA ever. TJ Dillashaw recently opened up about the match-up and the fact that it has a whole lot more on the line that just a belt. This is about legacy and the title of greatest of all time.
“I’m looking to come in and dethrone [Demetrious Johnson] from his legacy. He won’t be able to call himself the GOAT anymore. It’s so easy for him to continue calling himself that and take the fights he thinks are a little easier. He’s a cerebral fighter. He and his coach are smart guys, and they know I bring the greatest threat. I think he knows that’s going to be a tough one for him to win. It’s frustrating, because I believe I should be a lot higher [pound-for-pound].”
TJ Dillashaw (@TJDillashaw) says he needs approximately 16 weeks to cut to 125. Sounds confident Demetrious Johnson fight will happen, and that it will prove where he ranks pound-for-pound. https://t.co/B69CZB05Uk pic.twitter.com/mirriYBjS7
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) January 4, 2018
“That’s what I’m hearing from fans and journalists — they believe me fighting Johnson is not only the most-hyped fight for 2018, but the most talented. On average, there aren’t those guys who will bring everything in that weight class. They don’t have the power, footwork, cardio and wrestling I have. I don’t have a gap that Demetrious can take advantage of. When you see him manhandle guys and finish fights late in championship rounds — out-grapple them — he’s not going to be able to do that to me and I think that’s a scary thing to him, that he doesn’t have something to fall back on.” — TJ Dillashaw speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
If this actually gets done, it looks like 2018 will be the year of superfights. Dana White already wants to pit women’s UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes against featherweight champion Cris Cyborg. The men’s bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw throwing down with undisputed flyweight king Demetrious Johnson would make for an insane year just with those two fights. Johnson has said he only wants to enter the Octagon twice in 2018, so let’s hope at least one of those is against Dillashaw.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/4/2018.