If the UFC plans on matching up Demetrious Johnson with T.J. Dillashaw, that comes as news to the reigning and defending flyweight champion.
On Tuesday, news broke that the main event at UFC 213 between Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt was scrapped after the bantamweight champion suffered a back injury that forced him out of their scheduled bout on July 8.
UFC president Dana White then said he was planning to allow Dillashaw to drop down to flyweight to challenge Johnson in August at a planned event in Seattle. The fight would serve as Johnson’s chance to break the all-time record for title defenses in UFC history while competing in his hometown of Seattle.
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It didn’t take long for Johnson to respond via Twitter as he not only shot down the idea of fighting Dillashaw but revealed that he had already agreed to face No. 3 ranked flyweight contender Ray Borg.
“Just so the world [knows], I haven’t agreed to anything,” Johnson wrote. “Still waiting on my contract to fight Ray Borg not T.J. Dillashaw.
“If he wants a title shot, he can come to flyweight and get a win and then get his turn.”
Just so the world know I haven't agreed to anything still waiting on my contract to fight @tazmexufc not @TJDillashaw if he wants a title
Ultimately, Borg fired off one last response while still holding out hope that he’d face Johnson next but also pointing out that he will gladly fight anyone the UFC puts in front of him.
“At the end of the day, I want to fight DJ. You turds wrote off [Tim] Elliott in a heartbeat and since he did so well now you guys are sold on him,” Borg said. “I missed weight twice in my career. I am young and trying to get a hold on proper lifestyle and dieting and since hiring Perfecting Athletes as my nutritionist, I have made weight and also maintained the right weight to make it every time. Now I would love to fight DJ but you turds need to understand I don’t give a [expletive] on who I end up fighting. Just put someone in front of me and that’s all I care about. I would prefer DJ but if not I am fine with Wilson [Reis] because that is literally the only available fight that makes sense.”
Since announcing that he was planning on fighting Borg rather than Dillashaw, Johnson has received a ton of criticism that he’s somehow avoiding the tougher challenge from a former bantamweight champion rather than another contender in his own 125-pound weight division.
The one factor that is more likely playing a part in Johnson’s decision to stick to his guns about fighting Borg rather than facing Dillashaw may come down to money. Johnson has long advocated for the top champions in the UFC to be paid more than anyone else on the roster and considering he’s the longest-reigning titleholder in the history of the promotion that would entitle him to a significant pay increase.
His stance on fighting Borg rather than Dillashaw could come down to the UFC offering him a much bigger payday, which means Johnson is negotiating rather than avoiding any opponent that’s put in front of him.