Demetrious Johnson recently caused a stir when he balked at a showdown with ex-bantamweight king T.J. Dillashaw in favor of a flyweight title defense against Ray Borg.
However, while “Mighty Mouse” may very well be the top pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts today, he might not have as much matchmaking clout as he would like to believe.
“You know how I am with that stuff. Unfortunately for D.J., you don’t make the fights around here. I do,” UFC President Dana White said on the UFC “Unfiltered” podcast. “That’s the fight we’re pushing for. That’s the fight. I talked to T.J. Dillashaw again, that’s the fight he wants. He’s already cutting weight. That’s gonna probably be Aug. 19.”
Dillashaw became a potential opponent for Johnson after bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt was forced to withdraw from the UFC 213 headliner due to a back injury. With a fight against his former Team Alpha Male stablemate on the backburner, Dillashaw offered to drop to 125 pounds for an intriguing showdown with Johnson. “Mighty Mouse” tied Anderson Silva for the most consecutive UFC title defenses when he defeated Wilson Reis at UFC on Fox 24, so his next triumph would give him sole possession of the record.
“So [Dillashaw’s] like, I can make this weight, and I’m gonna stop him from breaking that record. T.J. is gonna go down to 125 to fight D.J. to stop him from breaking the record,” White said. “D.J. doesn’t want to fight him. It’s insanity.
“This is the first fight ever in D.J.’s history that he actually gets pay-per-view [points],” White continued. “This is the first fight that people will care about and want to see on pay-per-view and he’s refusing to fight T.J. Dillashaw.”
Johnson didn’t technically refuse to fight Dillashaw, but he did urge the Elevation Fight Team representative to get a win at 125 pounds before thinking about challenging for the title. Borg, meanwhile, has won five of his last six bouts in the Octagon and is an emerging talent in the flyweight division. However, “The Tazmexican Devil” has already missed weight twice before previous bouts.
“If you look at Ray Borg, what’s he ranked right now, 5 or 6? The guy’s ranked 5 or 6. T.J. Dillashaw is a former world champion coming down from the weight class above who’s next in line for the title shot there,” White said. “Absolutely he’s next in line if that’s what he wants. It’s nothing against Ray Borg.”
White is a little bit off in his assessment of Borg’s standing. According to UFC.com rankings, Borg is actually ranked No. 3 at flyweight behind only Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo, both of whom have already lost to Johnson. Nonetheless, if the UFC gets its way, it will be Dillashaw – not Borg – standing in the way of Johnson’s spot in the record books this summer.