Shortly after Henry Cejudo flipped the mixed martial arts (MMA) world on its head by defeating Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227 (see it), and T.J. Dillashaw knocked out Cody Garbrandt for the second time in the headlining act (highlights), talks of a potential champion vs. champion fight surfaced.
And the fact that Henry and T.J. were making the media rounds together soon thereafter only added fuel to the fire.
According to Dillashaw, the promotion has been hinting at the possibility of booking the bout.
“There’s been nothing serious,” Dillashaw said on the “JRE MMA Show” podcast (via MMA Junkie). “There’s been hints, and we did a media tour together, and they put us on camera together and had us talk (expletive) to each other. They didn’t say that. Everything we do is real, but it’s like, ‘Oh, (expletive), this is what you guys want? If you think you can beat me then (expletive) you, man. Let’s do this (expletive).’”
Should the fight go down, it will be T.J. who gets the opportunity to become the promotion’s third champ-champ, as it will go down at 125-pounds. For “Viper,” it accomplishes two things: It lets him become a two-division champion, and prove he didn’t need a size advantage to do it.
“I don’t want no excuses that I’m the bigger man,” Dillashaw said. “’25, especially with the coach I have now, Sam Calavitta. I was told I was going to fight Demetrious Johnson the summer before I fought Cody (Garbrandt) the first time. Within three weeks time I got down to 140 pounds.”
Furthermore, T.J. says the fight against Cejudo interests him on another level, saying getting a winning against a current champion and former Olympic gold medalist will be huge for his resume.
“The Henry Cejudo thing also entertains me so much because he’s a (Olympic) gold medalist,” Dillashaw said. “He wants to claim himself so much that he’s the greatest combat sports athlete ever. ‘I’m a UFC champion, I’m a gold medalist.’ I’ll go out there and beat you in wrestling,’ he said.
“MMA wrestling is completely different. I’m the better athlete. I can beat him anywhere watching him fight. That’s why I’m very excited about it. It’s the greatest thing for my name right now, and it excites me a lot,” he concluded.
With no talks of a true contender lined up for either man, it seems UFC is at least thinking about booking this fight later this year. And since UFC 230 — which is set to go down on Nov. 3, 2018 in New York City, New York — doesn’t have a headlining bout, don’t be surprised if it’s announced sooner, rather than later.