Originally, TJ Dillashaw was expected to battled Cody Garbrandt for the UFC bantamweight title at UFC 213. Unfortunately, Garbrandt was forced out of this anticipated grudge match with a back injury, which left Dillashaw without an opponent.
Having been deprived of this title fight with Garbrandt, Dillashaw then set his sights on a drop to flyweight, where he hoped to challenge dominant champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. Unfortunately, Johnson wasn’t on board with this plan, and Dillashaw had to shift his focus back to a fight with Garbrandt.
That rescheduled bout with Garbrandt is now in the works (but not official) for UFC 217, this November 4 in New York City. After his run of bad luck, Dillashaw is just hoping it happens.
“Fingers crossed nothing happens,” Dillashaw told MMAJunkie Radio. “I’m ready tomorrow, man. I’ve been staying in the gym. That’s what I love to do. I feel lazy when I’m not in the gym. So, yeah, I’m ready to go at 217. And just the fact to be able to fight in Madison Square Garden seems like a huge event.”
Dillashaw then commented on his failed plan to fight Johnson, criticizing the champ for avoiding the toughest fight available.
“This [fight with Garbrandt] is the fight I ultimately wanted,” he said. “That was kind of like going for a consolation prize. If I couldn’t get my belt at , I want a belt. And I felt like it was a big, hyped-up fight I could’ve pushed with Demetrious. Unfortunately he did not want that. Unfortunately he’s too cerebral of a fighter.
“He knows that’s not a good fight for him and wouldn’t accept it. He’s real worried about this record he needs to break. Go ahead and let him do that, I guess.”
Do you think TJ Dillashaw can defeat Cody Garbrandt to reclaim bantamweight gold?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/15/2017.