Things have gone rather quiet surrounding a potential champion vs. champion match-up between UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and bantamweight titleholder TJ Dillashaw. Though he has no intention of moving up to 135 pounds, Johnson is still angling for the fight.
The bout has been talked about for the better part of a year, but has been on and off the table numerous times for one reason or another.
While Johnson is currently rehabbing his left shoulder following surgery earlier this year, he believes he’ll be more than ready by summer and is still targeting the fight with Dillashaw for UFC 226, which takes place during International Fight Week in early July, which is the UFC’s annual cornerstone event.
“That’s the fight that I want. That’s the fight that I believe it should go down. The UFC knows what I want,” Johnson said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, though he didn’t have any promising news in regard to negotiations.
“I think the talks (with my management) have kind of gone dormant. I think the last time we talked about it was about six weeks ago, (my manager) says we’re trying to shoot for July, International Fight Week.”
Of course, in the midst of negotiations, Henry Cejudo’s manager, Ali Abdel-Aziz, tweeted about interest in a rematch between his client and Johnson this summer, muddying the waters a bit.
Johnson is well aware of Abdel-Aziz jumping in the mix, and he’d gladly fight whomever is the No. 1 contender in his division, but his focus remains on a potential superfight with Dillashaw dropping down to 125 pounds to challenge for his flyweight belt.
“At the end of the day, it’s a paycheck. I would never turn down the truly, rightful No. 1 contender in my division because the UFC could strip me,” Johnson admitted, but a fight with Dillashaw would be a marquee match-up that would play second-fiddle to the UFC 226 main event, which already pits UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic against lightweight heavyweight titleholder Daniel Cormier. Considering that UFC champions are paid points on the number of pay-per-views sold, that would be a bigger payday for Johnson than if he were to individually headline a different pay-per-view event.
So he is certainly putting a keen eye on the Dillashaw match-up more so than a rematch with Cejudo.
“That’s what I want to see happen,” Johnson admitted. “That’s what I’m hoping for.”