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Morning Report: TJ Dillashaw still clamoring for Demetrious Johnson superfight, wants to ‘dethrone him from his legacy’

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Last year when his bantamweight title shot/grudge match against Cody Garbrandt was first canceled due to a Garbrandt injury, T.J. Dillashaw quickly pivoted into potentially fighting flyweight champion and pound-for-pound kingpin Demetrious Johnson. Johnson, however, wasn’t interested in the fight, preferring to set the record for consecutive UFC title defenses against a “true” 125-pounder instead of against Dillashaw who had never competed at flyweight before. Ultimately, the fight never happened and Dillashaw went on to reclaim the bantamweight title when he and Garbrandt did finally meet. But that is not enough for Dillashaw.

Speaking recently with ESPN, the current bantamweight champion said that he is still wants to make the drop to 125 pounds to upend the “Greatest of All Time” legacy Johnson has been building around himself.

“I’m looking to come in and dethrone him from his legacy,” Dillashaw said. “He won’t be able to call himself the ‘GOAT’ anymore.

”It’s so easy for him to continue calling himself that and take the fights he thinks are a little easier. He’s a cerebral fighter. He and his coach are smart guys, and they know I bring the greatest threat. I think he knows that’s going to be a tough one for him to win.”

Dillashaw has been campaigning steadily for the superfight since he won the the title back in November, and Dana White has suggest that the fight is “going to happen” in 2018 but no official movement has been made on the bout. Nonetheless, Dillashaw has already begun the process of preparing his body to make the cut to flyweight, telling ESPN that he needs about 16 weeks to do it successfully. Four months is a lot of time, but if he can do it and he goes down and beats the reigning pound-for-pound champ, Dillashaw thinks he will get the recognition he believes he deserves but hasn’t come.

”It’s frustrating because I believe I should be a lot higher [in the pound-for-pound ranking],” Dillashaw said. “Couple split-decision losses I felt should have gone my way. That’s the way this sport is. I don’t lose to Cruz [in 2016], I’m up there for best in the world. It’s all meant to be. It’s going to end up leading to a great thing.”

”That’s what I’m hearing from fans and journalists. They believe me fighting Johnson is not only the most-hyped fight for 2018 but the most talented.”

One of the biggest arguments against Johnson in his ascent of fans “Greatest of All-Time” rankings has been the strength of opposition during his dominant run as flyweight champion. Flyweight is the youngest men’s weight class in the UFC and many, like Dillashaw, have argued that Johnson has been coasting against less-developed competition. Meanwhile, Dillashaw argues, the level of opponent in the bantamweight division is far superior and he has been thriving there for his whole career. That, Dillashaw says, is why Johnson would struggle to beat him and why he thinks Johnson is avoiding him.

”On average, there’s just not those guys who are gonna bring everything. They’re not gonna bring the power to the table, they’re not gonna have the footwork, the cardio and the wrestling [I have]. I don’t have a gap that he can take advantage of.

“You see him manhandle guys and finish fights late in championship rounds, out-grapple and out-wrestle them, but that’s the thing, he’s not going to be able to do that to me, and I think that’s a scary thing to him. He doesn’t have something to fall back on. There’s not something he can continue to push to beat me.”


MUST-READ STORIES

Dana says. Dana White says Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov could be next.

Dana says more. Dana White says Amanda Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg is “the fight to make.”

Megan. Cris Cyborg says she wants top featherweight contender, not Nunes, next.

FOTY. Gaethje vs. Johnson won MMA Fighting’s 2017 Fight of the Year.

Ouch. Robbie Lawler suffered torn ACL and meniscus in fight with Rafael dos Anjos.


VIDEO STEW

BJJ Scout is always must watch material.

Great battle from 2017 that most probably haven’t seen.

People aren’t talking about it but it’s actually possible the Lima-MacDonald winner is the best WW on the planet.

Faber talking about the Van Damm-Cody incident.

Conor out here spying on Khabib.

Go on the Valhalla Journey.


LISTEN UP

Fights Gone By. Jack Slack discussing the Rizin double weekend and UFC 219.

Severe MMA. Discussing UFC 219 and the now-muddled lightweight title picture.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Can’t wait for this one.

If TJ really isn’t going to even try and defend his belt to instead pursue 125, this is a fine consolation fight.

Matt Brown does not sound like a guy who is even a little bit retired.

Classy.

The UFC continues with their ‘one guy is huge standing behind the guy he’s fighting’ thing.

@ufc

A post shared by Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) on Jan 4, 2018 at 5:01pm PST

He’s excited.

This is still an excellent bit of promotion.

True beef.

Joanna got the Luke Thomas seal of approval on her deadlifting skills.

Silniejsza każdego dnia Martwy ciąg 80kg Podziękowania dla trenera @mirek_babiarz i @kamiliwanczyk | Gettin’ stronger with every day Dead lift 80kg Thanks coach @mirek_babiarz & @kamiliwanczyk #joannajedrzejczyk #JJisback #JJstrong #deadlift @scec.pl @rehabilitacja.holistyczna #liftinggirl

A post shared by Joanna Jedrzejczyk (@joannajedrzejczyk) on Jan 4, 2018 at 1:05pm PST

Roxy is too good for us.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Dan Ige (8-1) vs. Julio Arce (13-2); UFC 220, Jan 20.

John Dodson (19-9) vs. Pedro Munhoz (15-2, 1 NC); UFC Belem, Feb. 3.

Alexander Volkanovski (16-1) vs. Jeremy Kennedy (11-0); UFC 221, Feb. 11.

James Vick (12-1) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (22-5); UFC Austin, Feb. 18.

Jared Gordon (14-1) vs. Diego Ferreira (12-2); UFC Austin, Feb. 18.

Yana Kunitskaya (10-3, 1 NC) vs. Sara McMann (11-4); UFC on Fox 28, Feb. 24.

Jimi Manuwa (17-3) vs. Jan Blachowicz (21-7); UFC London, March 17.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2013: Carla Esparza competed in Invicta for the final time before jumping to the UFC, winning the inaugural strawweight title with a unanimous decision over Bec Hyatt. This event also featured numerous women other who would go on to compete on The Ultimate Fighter 20, including future champion Rose Namajunas.


FINAL THOUGHTS

I’ve said it before and I’ll defend it until I die: TJ fighting DJ at 125 is dumb. DJ is the record holder, DJ is the P4P king, DJ should get the opportunity to win a second belt. Otherwise, TJ needs to get to work in his division which is one of the best and deepest in the sport.

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


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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