It appears a super-fight between bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw and flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is no longer in the works.
While it seemed like the two champions were on a collision course for a bout later this year, UFC president Dana White recently shot down the possibility, while saying that the promotion is currently working on alternate plans for both fighters.
According to White, Johnson is still injured after having shoulder surgery and the UFC is working on a plan to find a new opponent for Dillashaw, as he looks to defend his bantamweight title for the first time since defeating Cody Garbrandt to become a two-time champion last November.
White said adamantly that Dillashaw vs. Johnson “is not happening,” according to an L.A. Times report, before adding, “It was never made. Plus, D.J. is hurt and out for a while.”
As much as White states that Johnson’s injury might be playing a part in the fight no longer happening, the longest reigning champion in UFC history has said that he would be ready for a summer showdown with Dillashaw if he could reach an agreement with the promotion on a deal that made financial sense for a bout of that magnitude.
It’s entirely possible that the two sides couldn’t come to any sort of an agreement, so Johnson will be forced to go back and face the next top contender at 125 pounds instead of a more lucrative super-fight against Dillashaw.
Who is Next for TJ Dillashaw and Demetrious Johnson?
Meanwhile, Dillashaw has a long list of contenders champing at the bit to get at him, including Garbrandt, who has already asked for a rematch, as well as former champion Dominick Cruz. Dillashaw lost his bantamweight title to Cruz in 2016, which definitely sets up that rivalry rematch without much trouble.
Raphael Assuncao is another name at bantamweight that bears mentioning considering he’s split a pair of fights with Dillashaw in the past. There’s also a pivotal match-up at bantamweight taking place in June when Jimmie Rivera takes on Marlon Moraes.
Any of those fighters could be next in line when the UFC finally makes a decision on who will get the next crack at Dillashaw and the bantamweight belt.
As for Johnson’s next fight, he may end up drawing a rematch against Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo, who has won his last two bouts in a row, while climbing back into title contention.