According to UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, negotiations for a fight between him and 135-pound titleholder TJ Dillashaw have stalled, although he remains adamant that it’s the fight he’s focused on landing:
“That’s the fight I want,” Johnson said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour. “That’s the fight I believe that should go down. I believe the UFC knows that’s the fight that I want. The biggest thing I’ve been really focusing on is letting Malki [Kawa] and Abe [Kawa] at First Round Management handle that stuff. I have, they’re great managers and I told them what I want and they talk to the UFC. I think the talks with Malki and those guys have kind have gone dormant.”
The idea of matching the two champions up against each other has been discussed for quite a few months now and at the end of the day, “Mighty Mouse” said it will simply come down to what the promotion ‘wants to do’:
“At the end of the day, UFC is a business,” Johnson said. “T.J. obviously just won the belt and he’s been the champ for maybe five or six months, and so there’s still a line of contenders he could fight in the division. You have your Dominick Cruz, Jimmie Rivera, the Cody Garbrandt rematch, so they have options for that one. Whereas for me, I have options as well and rematches and whatever. But I think TJ wants this fight because it is probably a bigger paycheck for him, and hopefully for me too, so we’ll see what the UFC wants to do.”
While Dillashaw, who reclaimed the bantamweight strap this past November, certainly has options, Johnson, on the other hand, doesn’t have as many, as he’s essentially cleared out the 125-pound division, defending his title a record 11-straight times.
With that being said, a fresh challenger like Dillashaw interests him, although he confirmed that he wouldn’t be moving back up to 135 pounds regardless of the outcome of the potential super fight:
“I’m going to be frank and honest,” Johnson said. “If I went up there and beat T.J. Dillashaw at 135 pounds, I have no interest whatsoever in staying at 135. People are like ‘why not?’ and I’m like I have no interest in fighting guys who walk around at 160 pounds.
“That’s going to put more wear and tear on your body,” he added. “You can do X, Y, and Z. I’m looking at the my longevity of my career, I want to fight another 5-6 years whether I win or lose, and I’m going to do that fighting guys my size. You look at the ‘Suga Show,’ Sean O’Malley. The guy is 5-11. My god, I mean, it’s just, it creates more, and obviously I would do it if the money was right, but I’m not going to sit here and argue with somebody who doesn’t believe I should make X, Y, and Z, who believe I should do something.”
What do you make of Johnson’s comments and do you still hope to see him mix it up with Dillashaw?