This has been a crazy week for the UFC, as a feud between Featherweight Champion Demetrious Johnson and TJ Dillashaw has erupted. Johnson wants nothing to do with it, as he instead prefers to face off against someone else in order to surpass the title defense record, which is currently held by former Welterweight Champion Anderson Silva.
Earlier this week, Johnson went on Reddit to voice out his frustration with the UFC, White, and Dillashaw. In a summarized statement made by Johnson, he went on to say the following:
“I agreed to their tyrannical demand to fight Ray Borg and Ray also agreed. UFC has refused to give me PPV points on any future flyweight bouts, and has never given me any PPV points on previous bouts. My request was fair and the matchmaker in charge of the flyweight and bantamweight division agreed. I gave UFC fair conditions to change the fight to TJ Dillashaw and they refused. Dana and Sean have told me that they have no interest in marketing me or the smaller divisions, so when they say that I will make PPV money vs. Dillashaw, they leave out the fact that I have to hit certain numbers of buys, which will not be hit if they fail in marketing me like they have in my previous fights. If TJ doesn’t make weight, I can’t break the record for the most consecutive title defenses and they have denied paying me in that circumstance. Dana has made an effort to bully me in the media as well as in private, in order to get what he wants, even though it is not what is best for me or the sport. If Dana says this will be a big PPV fight for me, and that they will promote it properly, then he can pay for it up front and explain to Ray Borg why he is being taken out of the fight that the UFC matchmaker in charge of the division put him in. Otherwise, it is just another lie and attempt to bully me to do something that Dana wants, but is not the right thing to do for the sport or my career. It’s unfortunate that White continues to act as if it’s his way on the highway when it comes to negotiating with fighters and foisting unfair deals with them. Johnson, by all accounts, has been a model employee during his dominant reign atop the division. He is even on the verge of UFC history if he can make one more title defense, but even that status and level of accomplishment is lost on White if he can’t get his way.”
A few days later, Dillashaw went on to voice out his own frustration against Johnson for not agreeing to a match between the two that White is currently trying to make happen. Dillashaw went on to say the following:
“I understand where he’s coming from with some of it but a lot of it was a slap in the face to me as well. Trying to say that I don’t really deserve a title shot which I think is complete bull crap. I don’t think there’s anybody in his weight class right now to push him and I’m healthy, I’m in shape, I’m already in the process – because Dana told me that’s who I’m fighting – of dropping the weight class. I’m waking up at 143 pounds in the morning so that’s a very, very reachable goal. So for him to go and discredit my name and the things that I’ve accomplished just to not be worthy of a title shot kind of pissed me off a little bit. And it’s kind of embarrassing to have him go and call himself the GOAT, to be the greatest of all time and turning down fights because he’s scared to fight. He can say whatever he wants to say about all his other issues he has and being bullied – which, I don’t understand how the greatest of all time gets bullied – but it all comes down to him being scared of me beating him. He knows that I’m a bad matchup for him and that it’s a fight that he does not want.”
This all started when Cody Garbrandt pulled out of his fight against Dillashaw, originally scheduled for UFC 213 for the Bantamweight Championship. However, the bout was cancelled, due to Garbrandt experiencing back issues. This lead to White to throw together a match between Dillashaw and Johnson for the Featherweight Championship.
This feud has gone public, and I don’t believe it will end anytime soon. After Johnson spoke out, he received backlash from other fighters. Some even went on to change his nickname from “Mighty Mouse” to “Mighty Rat” for not agreeing to fight Dillashaw.
In my opinion, this is a feud that should be settled in the octagon. Johnson and Dillashaw are both great fighters. Dillashaw has been the Bantamweight Champion before, while Johnson has been the Featherweight Champion for seven years, including multiple defenses.
Even though Johnson is doubtful that Dillashaw can make the appropriate weight for the bout, Dillashaw has said otherwise, and that is what it will come down to if both men do face off.