Former UFC Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw is getting a shot to reclaim the gold when he challenges UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217.
Dillashaw was once thought of to be in line for a shot at UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson, but it was an opportunity that Dillashaw calls a consolation prize.
“This is the fight I ultimately wanted,” Dillashaw said to MMA Junkie. “That was kind of like going for a consolation prize. If I couldn’t get my belt at (135), I want a belt. And I felt like it was a big, hyped-up fight I could’ve pushed with Demetrious. Unfortunately, he did not want that. Unfortunately, he’s too cerebral of a fighter.”
Johnson has since moved onto another challenger, as he faces Ray Borg in the main event of UFC 215.
The fight between Dillashaw and Garbrandt were supposed to fight before at UFC 213, but the fight got canceled after Garbrandt suffered a back injury. Dillashaw hopes that the second times a charm for both fighters.
“Fingers crossed nothing happens. I’m ready tomorrow, man,” Dillashaw said. “I’ve been staying in the gym. That’s what I love to do. I feel lazy when I’m not in the gym. So, yeah, I’m ready to go at 217. And just the fact to be able to fight in Madison Square Garden seems like a huge event.”
UFC 217 takes place on Saturday, November 4 from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York with Michael Bisping and Georges St. Pierre headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.