UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw may have to wait a little while longer to get his dream matchup with flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. The mixed martial artist formerly known as “Mighty Mouse” underwent shoulder surgery on Wednesday, which means it will be a while before we see him return to action
Dillashaw recently opened up on pursuing a fight with the UFC pound for pound number 1, claiming that Johnson was simply reluctant to fight him.
Dillashaw ended an intense beef with his knockout of Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217 in November last year. Seeing as Demetrious Johnson (the 125-pound titlist Dillashaw is targeting) will be out for the foreseeable, Dillashaw may be waiting a while.
“They always talk about Demetrious Johnson and what record he’s about to break. They always talk about Demetrious Johnson and the win streak he’s on or Demetrious Johnson being No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. But they’re never talking about Demetrious Johnson and who he’s fighting,” Dillashaw told FloCombat. “Now he has a chance to lose, and that’s a scary thing for him.
“I am that person. I’m that person that’s going to bring that threat. You’re going to be glued to the TV because for once you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Dillashaw believes that Johnson has no interest in fighting him, which does nothing for his goals in ‘cementing his legacy’:
“I want to prove a point. He insulted me saying I couldn’t make the weight, that I wasn’t worthy of a 125-pound title shot and he knows that I was,” Dillashaw said. “I think he’s scared, and I want to prove that. He’s saying all this nonsense that I wasn’t worthy when I was in the pound-for-pound rankings. I feel like that was a pretty big slap in the face, and I’m going to bring it back to him.”
“This is a way to put a stamp on my legacy,” Dillashaw said. “I was a little hurt losing that split decision [to Dominick Cruz] and not being on a 13-fight win streak and being called the pound-for-pound best in the world. In my mind, I should be No. 1. So it comes down to beating Demetrious Johnson to prove I’m the best, and it’s a huge thing for my legacy to be the double champ in two weight classes.
“I’m not a Conor McGregor. I’m going to be active defending my belts. I’m not afraid to fight.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov is a likely opponent for the Irishman’s return to action. “The Eagle” recently dominated Edson Barboza, who spoke to MMAFighting about the bout:
”I really didn’t expect that to happen, man,” Barboza said. “I was very upset the week after the fight because I was well prepared, had a wonderful camp. It was a tough loss, no doubt about it.
”It was pretty much how we imagined it,” he continued. “I knew he wouldn’t take me down in the middle of the Octagon. I knew that his only chance to take me down was close to the fence, so I obviously worked that a lot, but he was able to impose his game, and I couldn’t get out of there. That was the problem. I fell in his game, I spent 15 minutes doing his game. Honestly, I didn’t expect that. He walked backwards in all of his previous fights before he went for takedowns. I was prepared for it, but I thought he would do what he always did, to avoid the striking. It surprised me that he moved forward.”
Barboza admitted that the fight did not go according to plan. Despite being overwhelmed for the majority of the bout, the Brazilian believed that he was in with a chance up until te
”I was aware of what was happening the entire time, and I believed it until the end,” the Brazilian said. “Things were going wrong but I kept thinking, ‘Brother, if he gives me a chance I’ll finish the fight.’ I remember everything that happened that night.
”If my corners had stopped the fight, I probably would have fought them all,” he said. “They know me really well, they know what I can handle. I’ve trained with millions of different people, the best boxers in New Jersey and Philadelphia, and they never knocked me down. They know me, they know what I can take, and they knew I could win at any moment.”