One of the most highly anticipated super fights of the current era is UFC flyweight king, Demetrious Johnson vs bantamweight champ, TJ Dillashaw. Or for some, it’s really just Johnson against any top-ranked 135er.
‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson has done essentially everything one could dream of as a UFC champion. He has broken the consecutive title defense record, taken little to no damage doing it and pulled off some insanely flashy moves in the process.
But the time has come for a new challenge. One that is believed to be in his old home of 135 pounds. Or at the very least, defending his crown against one of the best guys in that higher weight class.
The willing party to try and topple the pound-for-pound great is the current bantamweight title holder, Dillashaw.
The super fight between the two was reportedly in talks for the better part of early 2018 but fizzled out for one reason or another as Johnson would go on to have surgery and Dillashaw would sign a new deal and line up a rematch with the man he took the title from, Cody Garbrandt.
Johnson himself is now recovered and set for a rematch as well as he will take on Henry Cejudo in the co-main event of the same event Dillashaw headlines, UFC 227 on August 4th.
In preparation for the fight, Dillashaw spoke with MMAFighting for a media luncheon and discussed the super fight falling out.
“I don’t really know [why the fight didn’t get made]. 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.
I was chasing that Demetrious Johnson fight. It just really didn’t seem like it wanted to work itself out. So I feel like the next biggest, hyped up fight was Cody. The one that kind of made the most sense for the attention. There was a lot of drama behind it, so run it back.”
As mentioned, although it would seem most logical for Johnson to go up and challenge for Dillashaw’s title, Dillashaw isn’t at all opposed to going down and trying to take Johnson’s.
“He’s got that spot and I’m looking to take it. 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.”
If we’ll ever see Dillashaw and Johnson compete against each other remains to be seen. But all we do know is that it will be critical for them to each win at UFC 227 if it has any sort of chance at all.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/15/2018