TJ Dillashaw isn’t getting the fight he wanted at UFC 207, but it looks like he’s going to be on the promotion’s final fight card of the year.
Dillashaw felt he was on the incorrect side of a split decision when he lost the UFC bantamweight championship to Dominick Cruz at UFC Fight Night 81 in January, and he’s been lobbying for a rematch ever since.
With Urijah Faber inexplicably getting a shot against Cruz in June, Dillashaw was left to fight Raphael Assuncao at UFC 200 in July. After soundly defeating Assuncao, Dillashaw thought for sure that he’d get the next shot at Cruz, who beat Faber.
Cruz instead has been matched up with rising star Cody Garbrandt in the UFC 207 co-main event, again leaving Dillashaw out of the title picture once again.
He’ll instead have to settle for the next-best thing, pairing up with John Lineker at UFC 207 in a bout that could produce the next title challenger, and will likely serve as a back-up plan should Cruz or Garbrandt have to pull out of their fight.
ESPN‘s Brett Okamoto first reported the likely match-up on Wednesday, saying that both sides had verbally agreed to the bout with signed paperwork expected to follow soon.
While Dillashaw has long been lobbying for his opportunity to regain the title, Lineker has been racking up victories at bantamweight after several years struggling to make weight in the flyweight division. He’s won his six most recent bouts, the final four at bantamweight, although he was 0.5 pounds over the limit for his fight with John Dodson in early October.
UFC 207 features the return of Ronda Rousey, who will challenge current women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in the main event on Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.