EXCLUSIVE | TJ Dillashaw says UFC told him Demetrious Johnson was “too afraid” to accept fight

For a fleeting moment earlier this year, it sounded as though UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw would drop down to flyweight to battle dominating divisional champ Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in an incredible superfight. Regrettably, negotiations for this endlessly compelling contest stalled, and ultimately flat-lined.

On the latest episode of BJPENN.COM Radio, the bantamweight champ Dillashaw recounted the end of the negotiations for this bout. Apparently, he heard different things from different parties. While Mighty Mouse himself claimed to want the fight, Dillashaw says the UFC told him the flyweight champ was “too afraid” to accept the bout.

“I talk to Demetrious Johnson, I hear one thing,” Dillashaw said. “I talk to the UFC, I hear another thing. It’s really hard to know what exactly went down if you’re not the guy that’s [having] that conversation.”

“I was told by the UFC that they were going to match me and Demetrious up in April, but then Demetrious Johnson had to go and get his shoulder fixed,” Dillashaw continued. “He was hoping to be back by July 7th. I reached out to him and said, ‘Hey man, what’s what? When are you wanting to fight? Do you want this fight to happen? I don’t want to keep pushing for something that’s not going to happen.’

“He was telling me that he did, that he wanted to fight and he wanted it July 7th. That’s what I heard from him, but then when I talked to the UFC, it was ‘no, he’s too afraid to fight you, he wants this ridiculous money that we’re never going to accept. He doesn’t want to accept the fight.’

“I think it was just too much politics behind the whole thing to get it lined up,” Dillashaw said. “Hopefully it will happen one day because I would like to prove to the world that I’m the best pound for pound fighter in the world.”

For Dillashaw, that’s the goal. To prove his status as the world’s very best fighter.

“That’s my goal, is to be the best pound for pound fighter in the world,” he said. “Demetrious Johnson right now holds that crown. It’s just about challenging myself and putting myself in those tough fights, and I think he’s a very tough fight. He’s a very tough fighter, well rounded, very great, smart athlete.

“I felt that everyone was very disappointed when they heard it wasn’t happening,” he concluded. “There was a lot of buzz behind it. The fans definitely wanted it, I wanted it, it sounded like the UFC wanted it.

With this Mighty Mouse superfight off the table, TJ Dillashaw has set his sights on a rematch with Cody Garbrandt, who defeated to win the title back in November. The pair’s rematch will occur at UFC 227 on August 4 in Los Angeles.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/10/2018.