Cody Garbrandt’s back issues have resulted in a chain of events that impact UFC 213 and beyond.
With the bantamweight champion dealing with an injury, ESPN reported that the UFC canceled Garbrandt’s first title defense fight against T.J. Dillashaw, which was scheduled as the main event for the promotion’s International Fight Week in July.
UFC president Dana White announced that with middleweight champion Michael Bisping sidelined with a knee injury of his own, Yoel Romero will fight Robert Whittaker for the interim middleweight belt in the co-main event.
So what does this do for Dillashaw?
White told ESPN that the promotion was trying to schedule a title fight between Dillashaw and Demetrious Johnson for August in the flyweight division. However, it appears Johnson, who has defended his belt 10 times, isn’t interested in fighting the former bantamweight champion and would rather fight No. 3-ranked flyweight contender Ray Borg.
Despite being the UFC’s pound-for-pound king and defending his title 10 times, Johnson isn’t a household name. He hasn’t been featured on a numbered card since UFC 197, and it makes sense for him to take a fight against a well-known name like Dillashaw rather than an unknown.
However, Dillashaw never has fought in the flyweight class, but he implicitly cited his own popularity as a reason why it’s logical for him to move down to the 125-pound division and fight Johnson now that Garbrandt can’t fight anymore.
Johnson responded that he wants to see Dillashaw first take a fight in the flyweight class before getting a title shot.
With the Garbrandt-Dillashaw fight canceled, the UFC women’s bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko now will headline UFC 213, and White hopes there isn’t another wrench that screws with his plans for International Fight Week.
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