Tonight, on the main card of UFC 207, former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw will be stepping into the Octagon against streaking bantamweight John Lineker.
While the fight was expected to produce the bantamweight #1 contender, UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby recently stated that the fight is not guaranteed to produce the next bantamweight title challenger:
“The great thing about the bantamweight division right now [it’s] on fire,” Shelby said. “I don’t think there’s another division with more contenders. We’ll see what we get out of this fight [in terms of contenders]. On paper, regardless of title contendership, it’s straight fire. It’s all offense.”
Ahead of the fight, Dillashaw himself believes that a change in weight classes could be in his future. He spoke to MMAFighting:
“I don’t make enough money to wait [for a title shot]. I can’t sit on the shelf and just wait. I’ve got too big of goals in life so I’m gonna continue to fight, I’m not gonna sit around and wait. I said after my last fight I was gonna take no fight other than a title fight but look, I’m taking the No. 2 guy again.”
“I’m not gonna wait around forever to get a belt back… If I’m gonna continue to get overlooked, if Cruz is gonna continue to pick guys in the top 10 instead of the top 5 I might have to go [to another division]. The goal is to have a belt around my waist.”
Dillashaw has been a man on a mission since losing the bantamweight championship to Dominick Cruz earlier this year via split decision. Following that fight, Dillashaw did everything in his power to secure a rematch with Cruz, even offering to make an extremely expensive bet with Cruz over the fight. With Cruz ultimately being booked to fight Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207, Dillashaw was then booked to fight John Lineker at the event.
Only time will tell if Dillashaw or Lineker will be able to secure a bantamweight title shot with their performance tonight.