UFC 227 will be headlined by a title rematch between two of the most heated rivals, while the co-main event features MMA’s pound-for-pound best. And yet, many in the MMA community hoped for something different.
The main event of UFC 227 will see T.J. Dillashaw defend the UFC Bantamweight Title against Cody Garbrandt, while the co-main event sees flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson face challenger Henry Cejudo. Both fights are title rematches, as Dillashaw won the bantamweight title from Garbrandt back at UFC 217, while Johnson retained against Cejudo at UFC 197.
With ‘Mighty Mouse’ running through the flyweight competition as much as he is, many have called for Dillashaw and Johnson to face off. Many in the MMA community — even UFC President Dana White — have called for the match. But for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened yet.
And Dillashaw says to not look at him for answers.
“I think that’s a good question for Demetrious Johnson,” Dillashaw said. “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.
Even if it isn’t as big of a draw as him vs. Johnson, Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt still has a lot of hype and attention for it. Their rivalry goes back to when Dillashaw left Team Alpha Male, and it only intensified as the two coached opposite sides as part of The Ultimate Fighter. Dillashaw’s second-round finish of Garbrandt at Madison Square Garden last November was the first loss of Garbrandt’s professional MMA career.
But Dillashaw says once he’s through with his rival, he’s still aiming for a champion vs. champion bout with Johnson.
“He’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.”
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.
Original Story: MMA Fighting