It is now common knowledge among the MMA Community whom TJ Dillashaw would be facing August 4th if he had his wish, and his name is not Cody Garbrandt. Of course, as a competitor of the highest rank, Dillashaw will shift his focus exclusively to Garbrandt now that the deal is done and the date is set, but one would be hard pressed to find someone who was lobbying for a fight more than TJ Dillashaw was to face Demetrious Johnson. And what many overlooked is that Demetrious Johnson, though initially hesitant to get behind the idea, publicly signed off on the idea to facing Dillashaw for his flyweight championship. So if both parties are in, and the fans are in, what’s the problem? As it turns out, TJ Dillashaw is as clueless as the rest of us:
“I don’t really know,” Dillashaw said when posed with this mystery at the UFC 227 media luncheon. “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.”
Dana White has said the reason it didn’t happen was primarily because Demetrious Johnson was injured at the time the rematch with Garbrandt was booked, but Dillashaw still believes the holdup is coming from Demetrious Johnson’s end. Although White has attributed Demetrious Johnson’s injury as the reason the fight wasn’t booked, it is still curious that both men are returning to competition at the same card, thus the air of mystery continues to fog the fallout of this anticipated bout.
“[Johnson’s] got that spot and I’m looking to take it,” Dillashaw said. “Our fight is ahead of us that we gotta worry about. And we’ll talk about it after the fight.”
If both Dillashaw and Johnson emerge from UFC 227 victorious and injury-free, this pay per view may be the perfect platform to organically hype the fight, and it may be enough to rid whatever the obstacle is that has been preventing the bout from happening.
Why do you think the Dillashaw/Garbrandt was made instead of Johnson/Dillashaw?