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Morning Report: T.J. Dillashaw wants Demetrious Johnson next, not interested in Jimmie Rivera or ‘fragile’ Dominick Cruz

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Earlier this year when T.J. Dillashaw’s bantamweight title shot against then-champion Cody Garbrandt was scratched because of a Garbrandt injury, the once (and future) 135-pound king was interested in dropping ten pounds to take on the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world, flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson. Johnson wasn’t interested in the bout and eventually the plan was scrapped but the idea never left Dillashaw’s head, and now that he is once again the bantamweight champion, Dillashaw is pursuing the superfight with much greater zeal and slightly more leverage.

Speaking to Submission Radio recently, Dillashaw said that the only fight he is interested in right now is a battle with “Mighty Mouse” to determine who the real pound-for-pound king is.

“The fight for me is Demetrious Johnson,” said Dillashaw. “The UFC wants it, I want it, the fans want it, it makes sense, so now it’s all about Demetrious Johnson accepting the challenge. The ball is in his court for this big fight.

“It’s just perfect timing. Not only is Demetrious Johnson on the longest title defense history ever and I want to prove I could have stopped him from breaking the record when he turned down the fight and was scared to fight me, but also the fact that he’s the pound-for-pound best and I believe I’m the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. Also I can be a dual champ, which has only been done one other time, by Conor. It’s got a lot of perks and it’s a highly touted fight. You take advantage of these big fights when they come into your future. This is something that will help out my legacy and my name as well as my pocketbook.

“Everyone’s gonna want to see this fight. . . It’s the one everyone wants to talk about, everyone wants to see so it’s time for him to man up and take this fight.”

Dillashaw is currently the sixth-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world but he has never competed at 125 pounds, a fact which played heavily in Johnson’s antipathy towards the fight when it was first proposed. Now that Dillashaw is champion though, “Mighty Mouse” could be more interested in the superfight, especially if it’s him who has the opportunity to earn a second title. Dillashaw says that he would accept that fight if offered but that he’d rather go to 125 so there would be “no excuses” after he won.

“Bring it either way. I would love to go down to 125 and make it because he’s the P4P champ and I want to beat him in his weight class because there’s gonna be this excuse, ‘Oh he had to bulk up to 135 to fight me, I didn’t meet the real pound-for-pound champ.’ I want to go down and beat the pound-for-pound champion. He’s got that number one spot and I want to be there and to do so I have to beat him at his weight class because there will definitely be excuses if I beat him at 135 that he’s giving up all this weight, so I’m going to take that equation out of it and drop the weight.”

If the fight with Johnson doesn’t materialize though, Dillashaw happens to find himself atop one of the most compelling divisions in the sport, with a plethora of deserving title challengers waiting in the wings. Unfortunately, the champion isn’t particularly excited about any of them and the one man he would have been interested in fighting (and the one who took the title from him), recently pulled out of a scheduled fight against Jimmie Rivera due to injury.

“If he would have stayed healthy and won this fight and Demetrious didn’t answer the fight, that would have been the fight I was looking for, against Dominick Cruz. That’s a fight that has a story behind it. I got robbed out of that fight and I want it back anyways, but Dominick Cruz, for how good the guy is, he’s not built for fighting. He’s so fragile it’s ridiculous.

“He’s gotta sign a contract that he has to train in a bubble, turn into bubble boy, to make sure the fight will actually happen.”

Cruz vs. Rivera was ostensibly a fight to earn the next bantamweight title shot but with Cruz out, instead Rivera will take on former Dillashaw opponent John Lineker and despite Rivera’s 20-fight unbeaten streak, Dillashaw says he’s not interested in a Rivera bout even if he beats “Hands of Stone.”

“Not at all. The guy doesn’t push numbers. A fight with Dominick would’ve put his name on the map if he could have won that fight, but I need some fights that are really gonna push the needle. I’m the champion. I’m trying to be the best in the world and get that pound-for-pound spot and I’m trying to get paid.”

But if Johnson turns down the fight, there is one opponent who could potentially interest him, even if it seems unlikely. Dillashaw concluded his state of the bantamweight union by saying that if for some reason the UFC offered him a fight against his former mentor, the currently retired Urijah Faber, he would be amenable to it despite his own admission that Faber wouldn’t deserve the opportunity.

“It would be a hyped up fight. He wouldn’t deserve the shot but it would be a good payday for sure. I would go along with it because it’s a hyped up fight but it does bring a bad taste to the sport though. I’m an advocate of the actual sport and the guy just doesn’t deserve it. It would be the biggest jumping of the line ever, really. . . It would be quite ridiculous but I wouldn’t mind slapping the guy around a little bit.”


MUST-READ STORIES

Results.The final fight of TUF 26 aired and the first UFC women’s flyweight title is set.

Retired. Dana White says he doesn’t want to see Ronda Rousey come back to MMA.

Delusional Dana. Tyron Woodley blasts Dana White over Nate Diaz situation.

Best. Francis Ngannou believes he is the best UFC heavyweight and plans on proving it.

Sanctions. Ohio Athletic Commission investigates blood work falsification, sanctions 23 fighters.


VIDEO STEW

Embedded 3.

The Reem.

DJ playing the UFC 3 Beta.

Waterson on Steve Harvey.

Rogan talking about if LeBron was in MMA.

Very cool for Angela Hill.

Khabib interview.


LISTEN UP

Heavy Hands. Previewing the key fights from UFC 218.

Bushido Talk. Discussing the latest, mob-related Conor McGregor rumors.

Talking Brawls. Reviewing UFC Shanghai, previewing UFC 218, and Conor McGregor.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Gokhan discussing his injury.

As has been announced everywhere, i’m not fighting on the UFC 219 card. I wanted to announce this myself but i needed some time to recover mentally from this bad news. I got injured during a training and went to the hospital for this. My team and management took the decision with the medical team that i needed treatment and i have to think of my health first. I didn’t want to accept this but i’m glad i have the right people around me. It felt like i let my fans and supporters down, i was really looking forward to this fight. So the bad news was a bitter pil to swallow. But this is top sports and injuries are unfortunately a part of it. I’m recovering now and will be back in training soon. I want to thank my opponent Khalil for preparing for me and i wish him best of luck on December 30th. I want to thank all my fans/supporters for their great messages and i promise you 2018 i will give you KNOCK-OUTS! One knee, no knee, i will be there violently!!!! Sizlerin de bildiği üzere, UFC 219’da dövüşmeyeceğim. Her ne kadar bu kötü haberi sizlerle paylaşan ilk kişi olmak isteseydim de mental olarak toparlanmaya ihtiyacım vardı. Antrenman sırasında geçirdiğim sakatlık üzerine hastaneye gitmem gerekti. Ekibim, doktorların tedavi olmam gerektiği görüşünü dikkate alarak bu kararı aldı. Kabul etmek zor olsa da sağlığımı ilk planda tutmam gerekiyor. Bu dövüşü büyük bir heyecanla bekliyordum ve dövüşemeyecek olmak bana sevenlerimi yarı yolda bıraktığımı hissettirdi. Bunun üstesinden gelmek oldukça zordu. Ancak kabul etmek gerekiyor ki sakatlık da üst düzey sporların bir parçası. Şu anda tedavi sürecindeyim ve yakın zamanda antrenmanlara başlayacağım. Rakibim Khalil’e bu maça hazırlandığı için teşekkür ediyor ve kendisine 30 Aralık’taki mücadelesinde başarılar diliyorum. Ve siz tüm sevenlerime, destekçilerime değerli mesajlarınız için teşekkür ediyorum. 2018’de hepinize KNOCK-OUT sözüm var! Gerekirse bir dizimle ya da dizim olmadan, her şeyimle orada olacağım!!! #ufc219 #ufc #kickboxing #boxing #mma #comeback #recovery #2018 #gokhansaki #fighter #fans #smile #power #knockouts #tur #turkiye #usa #lasvegas #la #hollywood #rotterdam #schiedam #fitdutchies #fit #healthy #türkiye

A post shared by Gokhan Saki (@gokhansaki) on Nov 29, 2017 at 10:00am PST

Vicious trash-talk.

He’s never gonna stop.

Confidence.

Sportsmanship.

I’m starting to think he’s gonna actually come back.

This is what I work for. This is my motivation. I’ll never regret any of the hard work, hardship, sacrifices I’ve made to have this life, not for one second. I was told by a good friend “everyone wants what you have but none of these guys are willing to do what you do” if you want something you have to be willing to put in the work. Anything worth having takes work and a lot of it. When you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make your dreams come true anything is possible. Now I am back at it and it is grueling but I couldn’t feel better about where I am at right now! #mentaltoughness #beastmode #nostoppingnow #alwaysafighter #motivated #determined #noquitinme

A post shared by Chuck Liddell (@chuckliddell) on Nov 29, 2017 at 2:02pm PST

Seems like Matt Brown isn’t done yet.

13 ko’s, 13th skull. Still room for more skulls. @sixfeet_deep

A post shared by Matthew Brown (@iamtheimmortal) on Nov 29, 2017 at 6:09pm PST

There’s a lot going on here.

Shane Carwin’s unretirement was the same time as most MMA retirements.

This has been making the rounds as some legitimately dangerous advice.

#Caloknows

Peyton never did do well when the heat was on.

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Posted by Neil Magny on Wednesday, November 29, 2017


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Nicco Montano (3-2) vs. Sijara Eubanks (2-2); UFC TUF 26 Finale, Dec. 1.

Barb Honchak (10-2) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (21-13); UFC TUF 26 Finale, Dec. 1.

Priscila Cachoeira (8-0) vs. Lauren Murphy (9-3); UFC TUF 26 Finale, Dec. 1.

DeAnna Bennett (8-3) vs. Melinda Fabian (4-3-1); UFC TUF 26 Finale, Dec. 1.

Ariel Beck (4-4) vs. Shana Dobson (2-1); UFC TUF 26 Finale, Dec. 1.

Rachael Ostovich (3-3) vs. Karine Gevorgyan (3-2); UFC TUF 26 Finale, Dec. 1.

Christina Marks (9-8) vs. Montana De La Rosa (7-4); UFC TUF 26 Finale, Dec. 1.

Gillian Robertson (4-2) vs. Emily Whitmire (2-1); UFC TUF 26 Finale, Dec. 1.

Michael McDonald (17-4) vs. Peter Ligier (8-1-1); Bellator 191, Dec. 15.

Valerie Letourneau (8-6) vs. Kate Jackson (9-2-1); Bellator 191, Dec. 15.

Gabi Garcia (4-0, 1 NC) vs. Shinobu Kandori (4-1); Rizin FF, Dec. 29.

Takanori Gomi (35-14, 1 NC) vs. Yusuke Yachi (18-6); Rizin FF, Dec. 31.

Daniel Cormier (19-1, 1 NC) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (15-1); UFC 220, Jan. 20.

Ronaldo Souza (24-5, 1 NC) vs. Derek Brunson (18-5); UFC on Fox 27, Jan. 27.

Hector Lombard (34-8-1) vs. C.B. Dollaway (16-8); UFC 222, March 3.


FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s amusing that TJ says DJ is ducking him and that he’s an advocate for the sporting merit of MMA and then being like, ‘Nah, don’t care if Jimmie Rivera beats Lineker, get that dude and his 21-fight win streak out of here.’ Personally, I can’t wait for the day MMA returns to some semblance of a sport. Probably won’t ever happen though. We’re in this room now..

That’s all for today, folks. Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.




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