With the announcement of Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones fighting again and two small brawls at Friday’s “Summer Kickoff” press conference, one major story was buried in the headlines. With many of the top fighters in the sport at the press conference, current UFC bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt, and former bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw was missing from the press conference. The two fighters are scheduled to face each other as the main event of UFC 213 on July 8th in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two former teammates now turned rivals are opposing coaches during the 25th season of the Ultimate Fighter show.
UFC President Dana White asked why the fighters were missing and he responded that Garbrandt currently has a back injury and is being sent to Germany for a procedure. White stated that the fight is still “100% likely to happen”. White would go on to point out how confident he is in the procedure. “If this doesn’t work, he’ll be the only athlete I’ve ever know that it didn’t work for. It worked for Kobe Bryant. It worked for Alex Rodriguez and soccer players throughout the world. I mean every athlete I’ve ever known that’s gone there has come out healed”.
Dillashaw doesn’t seem to be as confident as White. When asked on Twitter by a fan if the fight was canceled he simply responded by saying “yes”.
White would reveal a possible backup plan. White stated, “If he (Garbrandt) can’t fight, T.J. called me this morning and said, if Cody can’t fight, what he would love is to stop Demetrious Johnson from breaking the record”. The record he is talking about is the consecutive title defenses. The flyweight champion Johnson is currently on a 10 title defense streak which is currently tied with former middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Johnson was asked about the challenge from Dillashaw and seemed uninterested. “There’s other challengers in the division with more win and on a winning streak. This wouldn’t be a super -fight because TJ is not a champion. He’s just a 135er coming down to 125 to skip the line that other flyweight competitors have worked hard to climb”.
The fight between Dillashaw and Johnson seems unlikely because Dillashaw has never fought at 125 lbs before.