LOS ANGELES — T.J. Dillashaw has been attempting to get a fight with Demetrious Johnson for the UFC flyweight title since last year, even before Dillashaw fought Cody Garbrandt and regained the UFC bantamweight title at UFC 217 last November via second-round TKO.
The Johnson vs. Dillashaw fight has not come together, though. Dillashaw has blamed that on Johnson. Garbrandt, meanwhile, thinks Dillashaw is being a bit two-faced about the whole thing.
“He’s a hypocrite,” Garbrandt said of Dillashaw at a UFC 227 media lunch Monday. “He calls ‘Mighty Mouse’ out for not fighting, but [the UFC] didn’t want to pay ‘Mighty Mouse.’ They didn’t want to do that. T.J. wanted that, because T.J. gets everything from that fight. He gains more than ‘Mighty Mouse.’ ‘Mighty Mouse’ is the pound-for-pound best fighter. T.J., you haven’t made weight at 125. I think he did that all wrong.”
Dillashaw and Garbrandt will now meet again for the bantamweight title at UFC 227 on Saturday night at Staples Center. Johnson, coincidentally, is on the same card — defending his flyweight title in a rematch against Henry Cejudo.
Garbrandt doesn’t appreciate Dillashaw talking smack about Johnson, because Garbrandt feels like Dillashaw ducked a rematch with him in March. When featherweight champ Max Holloway fell off the UFC 222 card, there was talk that Dillashaw could defend his title in a rematch against Garbrandt to fill the void. Garbrandt says Dillashaw didn’t want to do it.
“I don’t like to throw people under the bus or anything, but the UFC told me they couldn’t believe how many excuses that he had to not fight me in March,” Garbrandt said. “He said for that reason, ‘We’re gonna make the rematch. It won’t be in March, we’ll get you a date later on.’”
There are those who have criticized Garbrandt getting an immediate rematch when he was finished by Dillashaw last time out. But Garbrandt said that was entirely up to the UFC and he was ready to fight Raphael Assuncao at UFC 225 in June if need be.
“That’s what the UFC wanted me to do,” Garbrandt said of the title shot. “That’s what they gave me. Not me asking for it. I was gonna whoop Raphael Assuncao’s ass in June, in Chicago. I’ll give Assuncao credit, he’s doing some good things. He’s on Twitter, I see him. But they gave me the T.J. fight. Why not? Go out and get my title back and we’ll see what we do after that.”
Garbrandt, 27, had expressed interest in dropping down to 125 and fighting Johnson for the belt there in the past. And that is still on his mind, he said. Provided the UFC makes it worth both their whiles.
“I think DJ is a great champion, a great person, a great human,” Garbrandt said. “That’s the thing. If the UFC is willing to pay us the money that we deserve. If he wins, if he’s successful this Saturday, he’s the 12-time consecutive title [defender]. Me, the star power that I bring. I’ll go down to ‘25. If they compensate us, I’ll be more than willing to fight ‘Mighty Mouse’ at 125 pounds. If they don’t want to pay us, I’ll stay at 135 pounds and clean out my division. DJ can keep doing what he’s doing down there.
“No ill words towards ‘Mighty Mouse.’ I think he’s a great, great, great fighter. They’ve gotta compensate us for that. I think it would be a great fight.”
Garbrandt said he believes there’s a reason why the UFC didn’t pursue Johnson vs. Dillashaw. They wanted him to fight Johnson instead.
“That’s why they didn’t make the T.J.-DJ match, because they wanted me to go down there and do it,” Garbrandt said. “That was my plan originally. T.J. just took that from me. ‘I’m gonna go down and fight DJ.’ He’s not original. But we’ll take care of him on Saturday.”