T.J. Dillashaw (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

T.J. Dillashaw: The Cure For What’s Ailing the Flyweight Division?

Opportunities in our lives come and go. Sometimes we have the desire to reach out and grab them. Other times, they pass us by. The opportunity itself is not what drives us. It’s all about the potential reward that may come from it. As always, though, we wonder if the reward is truly worth the risk associated with it.

In the world of mixed martial arts, risk plays a huge factor. There’s the bodily harm that could be inflicted time and time again over the course of multiple fights. There’s the impending loss that could occur due to taking a short-notice fight or not being 100 percent come fight night. Michael Bisping took a huge risk when it came to challenging Luke Rockhold for his newly won middleweight crown. In this case, the situation presented itself to Bisping and he was able to come out on top. But sometimes, fighters feel that they need to create a potential reward with little to no risk. Enter T.J. Dillashaw.

Dillashaw is a new breed of fighter. The former Team Alpha Male prodigy was the first member of the camp to win UFC gold, a feat he accomplished while also under the tutelage of Duane “Bang” Ludwig. The entire scenario, as viewers have seen while watching the current season of The Ultimate Fighter on which Dillashaw serves as a coach opposite Cody Garbrandt, got ugly quite rapidly. The brewing bad blood just wasn’t enough for Dillashaw. He needed more. Due to the rumors of injury that could prevent Garbrandt from stepping inside the cage with him, Dillashaw has decided to try to take matters into his own hands by issuing a challenge that many knew would be coming: he wants Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.


Give yourself a moment to reflect on what Johnson has done during his tenure in the flyweight division. Johnson’s last loss came in 2011 against former bantamweight kingpin Dominick Cruz when Johnson was still fighting outside of his soon-to-be home weight class. Mighty Mouse has outclassed each opponent he has faced since becoming the first and only flyweight champion in UFC history. He is on schedule to break Anderson Silva’s title defense record, needing only one more successful defense to add this to his list of accomplishments and establish a record that possibly will never be topped. The problem with all of this? The list of title challengers is growing stale and it seems that the only viable challengers have already been beaten by the champion. The division needs life. It needs excitement. But it doesn’t need Dillashaw.

A clash between Dillashaw and Johnson makes absolutely no sense. It’s a win-win for Dillashaw and presents all sorts of risks for Johnson. Mighty Mouse needs a super fight. He needs a grudge match. Dillashaw does not meet either criteria. Dillashaw and Johnson have no bad blood to speak of. Sure, you could argue that Dillashaw will be trying to avenge the losses Johnson handed Joseph Benavidez, but as many have seen, thanks to TUF, the relationship between Dillashaw and the Alpha Male camp seems quite severed, if not gone completely. Dillashaw would be leapfrogging Benavidez’s third crack at the champion, which in itself is a mediocre booking at best.

You have to admire what Dillashaw is trying to do. He’s trying to make waves. He is really trying to get people talking about this fight. However, it just doesn’t have the momentum. On the other hand, look at Mike “Platinum” Perry. The man calls out one fighter and, as of this writing, Perry has been called out by no less than three fighters, none of which is the one he initially called out. Perry is creating waves and has been exciting. Johnson and fan excitement usually do not belong in the same sentence. Dillashaw can’t change this. The only superfight that needs to happen lost its footing when Cruz dropped his belt to Garbrandt.

Simply put, Dillashaw, please stay in the bantamweight division. Go after Garbrandt and challenge Cruz once again for a shot at redemption. Mighty Mouse, grab the record and keep going. You may be the Georges St-Pierre of the flyweight division, but your popularity and draw is growing by the day. Let’s have Johnson fight Tm Elliott in a rematch. A fully capable Elliott would be a real challenge for the champion. The first fight was incredibly technical and entertaining. It’s a better choice than pitting the champ against Dillashaw.

The point? Dillashaw/Johnson makes as much sense as Bisping/GSP. And that would never happen, right?