Demetrious Johnson holds the record for most consecutive defenses in UFC history. T.J. Dillashaw, who fights one division up as the bantamweight champion, thinks Johnson got there by avoiding challenging opponents.
Which is why Dillashaw wants slide down a weight class and knock Johnson, the flyweight champ, from his perch.
“I’m looking to come in and dethrone him from his legacy,” Dillashaw said in an interview with ESPN. “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.”
Johnson has utilized some serious skills to get to 11 consecutive title defenses since claiming the belt in September 2012. But Dillashaw is right about Johnson’s competition: Flyweight is the youngest weight class in the UFC, and no other flyweight resides in the promotion’s pound-for-pound rankings, where Johnson is first.
Dillashaw is sixth, and hated rival Cody Garbrandt, whom Dillashaw beat for the bantamweight belt at UFC 217, is 11th.
“It’s frustrating because I believe I should be a lot higher [in the pound-for-pound rankings],” 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.”
Back in June, Johnson resisted the idea of a fight with Dillashaw, hiding behind the nonexistent notion that fighters should stick to their weight class.
“It’s just the principle of a bantamweight coming down and skipping the line,” he told “The MMA Hour.”
At UFC 218, promotion president Dana White said “that fight’s gonna happen” of Johnson–Dillashaw. Hours later, Ariel Helwani reported a deal was “nowhere near done.”
Sure sounds like one fighter is scared of Johnson–Dillashaw actually taking place, and it’s not the bantamweight champ.