The UFC is trying to figure out what to do after Cody Garbrandt pulled out of the main event at UFC 213 in July against TJ Dillashaw. Dillashaw has been lobbying for a fight against flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson now that he can’t fight his old teammate, Garbrandt. Dana White seemed to be onboard and mentioned earlier this week that he wanted to make the fight happen. However, #3 ranked Ray Borg had been linked to the fight with ‘Mighty Mouse’ before Dillashaw-Garbrandt fell apart and was pretty adamant on Twitter that he wanted to fight the champ at 125 pounds.
Here is were I stand 🖕🏼goodnight. pic.twitter.com/9i1LbVVHBa
— Ray Borg (@tazmexufc) May 24, 2017
Johnson then took to Twitter to voice his support for the Borg fight
— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) May 24, 2017
The UFC is in a weird situation with Johnson. He’s one of the only champions that isn’t a big draw. He isn’t very outspoken compared to Conor McGregor or Daniel Cormier but is considered to be the #1 pound for pound fighter in the world. He’s won 12 straight fights in the UFC and has cleaned out the division twice. Johnson’s last loss came in 2011 to former bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz in a different weight class.
Johnson doesn’t have a lot of gain by fighting Borg at this stage of his career. Borg is 11-2 and 5-2 in the UFC. He’s won two straight and is a top five contender but only hardcore fans know who he is. Since Johnson holds two wins over #1 contender Joseph Benavidez and a win over #2 contender Henry Cejudo, Borg is the next in line for the title. If Borg does get the shot against ‘Mighty Mouse’ it’s not going to move the needle on pay per view or bring in a lot of extra buys from fans excited about the matchup.
Since the UFC was bought last year by WME we’ve seen a shift to bigger fights outside of weight classes like Conor McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez and the proposed Georges St. Pierre vs Michael Bisping fight that fell apart. The new ownership seems to be all about making money and big fights regardless of rankings and weight classes. If that formula holds up TJ Dillashaw should be the next opponent for Johnson.
Despite being champ ‘Mighty Mouse’ doesn’t lead to more pay per view buys but if he were to be matched up against a former champ like Dillashaw there could be enough intrigue to get casual fans to pay $60 to watch a “Dream Fight” against two smaller stars. Dillashaw has been featured prominently on the Ultimate Fighter reality show and the UFC would be wise to strike while the iron is hot and put him the fight with the flyweight champ. No one really thinks Borg will beat DJ but Dillashaw is known as a great wrestler with elite level striking. Since winning the bantamweight title in 2014 from the seemingly indestructible Renan Barao Dillashaw has been damn near perfect with his only loss being a razor close split decision loss to Dominick Cruz last January. Since then he’s won two straight decisions over two top five bantamweights, Raphael Assuncao and John Lineker.
The decision is easy. There’s more money and interest in Dillashaw vs Johnson than Borg vs Johnson. MMA is a sport but the UFC is all about entertainment. TJ Dillashaw was already training for a fight a title fight, if I’m running the UFC I’m giving him a new opponent and ten more pounds to cut.