Since we discussed the topic on our latest episode of the Pride Rules MMA podcast an affiliation with 2 minute:WARNING, I wanted to post a link encapsulating the potential cross division fight between UFC’s pound-for-pound best fighter and a record-tying, 10-time defender of the Flyweight championship, Demetrious Johnson and Bantamweight top contender, TJ Dillashaw.
Johnson is in no way a “needle-mover” when it comes to marketability…this is mainly due in part to the lack of competition at his 125 lb division. This is a perfect opportunity to prove to your doubters that you belong. Johnson seems like a smart guy, but he fails in the PR dept.
Below is the link to the story, which I’ve also copied the column as well, but click the link to get traffic to their site, as well. See what I did there?
Yesterday, ESPN reported and MMA Fighting confirmed that Garbrandt had been officially removed from his scheduled title defense and that the UFC was hoping to book Johnson vs. Dillashaw in a flyweight title bout in August.
Johnson is the UFC’s only ever 125-pound champion, and at this point, his biggest challenge has been finding competition. A fight with Dillashaw would circumvent that issue while also potentially providing a compelling opponent for a champion in desperate need of one to increase his marketability. The biggest concern is that Dillashaw has never made the weight and historically, the UFC has tended to make fighters take at least one fight in a new division before receiving a title shot.
Dillashaw seems unconcerned by that though, and he took to Twitter to try and gin up interest in a title shot over presumptive No. 1 contender Ray Borg.
Should Dillashaw get the fight, that leaves Borg in the lurch. Borg is currently the third ranked flyweight in the UFC and believed to be the next logical opponent for Johnson since the champion has already beaten the other top contenders. Borg took umbrage with Dillashaw’s campaigning for the title shot based on popularity, a contest he obviously could not win, and the two had a brief exchange about it.
Aside from being the de facto flyweight title challenger, Borg comes with his own set of concerns for the UFC. At 23 years old, he’s still relatively unknown to fans and he’s currently only on a two-fight winning streak after losing a unanimous decision to Justin Scoggins in February 2016. And while there are concerns about Dillashaw being able to make weight, there are also concerns with Borg’s ability to do the same as he has missed weight in two of his seven UFC fights. The flyweight contender responded to those concerns in his own Twitter post, saying that he had his weight issues fixed and that he wanted the Johnson fight but would fight Wilson Reis instead if that was the fight he was given.
But Johnson doesn’t want Borg to have to do that…
Johnson previously stated that he wasn’t interested in a fight with Dillashaw because Dillashaw has never competed at flyweight and isn’t the current 135 pound champion, saying, “this wouldn’t be a super-fight because TJ is not a champion. He’s just a 135er coming down to 125 to skip the line that other flyweight competitors have worked hard to climb.”
“Mighty Mouse” reaffirmed his earlier position that he isn’t interested in a fight with Dillashaw, stating that he is awaiting a contract to fight Ray Borg as his next fight.
At this point, no fighter has anything booked but if the UFC wants a flyweight title fight to headline an August card, things will have to move pretty quickly to get that lined up.