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TJ Dillashaw Explains Why He Turned Down UFC 222 Rematch With Cody Garbrandt

February 20, 2018 | Posted by Joseph Lee

In an interview with MMA Fighting, TJ Dillashaw explained why he turned down a short-notice rematch with less than a month’s notice. It was a backup plan for the event when Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar was cancelled due to an injury to Holloway. Here are highlights:

On why he turned down the fight: “They just kinda wanted me to save the card, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to. I’m dealing with some injuries that I was trying to keep quiet, but they kept hammering on me and hammering on me to take this fight. But I just wasn’t healthy. It’s not only to take a fight on four weeks’ notice, but also being injured and I haven’t been training and (recently) having a kid put a wrench in that whole thing too. It was a no-brainer, man. I mean, they kept trying to ask me to do it, but yeah, it was a no-brainer. I just knew it wasn’t the time. They thought I was, like, maybe holding back for more money or whatever it is. But it just came down to not being healthy.”

On Garbrandt not deserving a rematch: “It’s about this being a legitimate sport and doing it the right way. Tell me one other champion who never defended his belt and got an immediate rematch. He never once ever defended his belt — it wasn’t like he was a long-reigning champion or that he got robbed or whatever. There’s never ever been another champion that’s done it, so why are we making this precedent for Cody to get a rematch when he’s never defended his belt and then got knocked out? Like, how does that make sense whatsoever? So really, all I’ve got to do is state the facts. This is a sport. Get back in line. It took me two years to get a title shot off a split-decision loss to Dominick Cruz that the UFC told me they thought I won. It took me two years to get back to that case. Like, I worked my way back. I beat two No. 1 contenders to get there. It’s a sport, you’ve got to push hard and you’ve got to get after it. You can’t complain, you can’t be a sore loser and all this shoulda, coulda, woulda stuff. So it’s a little frustrating, but easy to put behind you. Let him continue to talk, be myself, and the more he talks, the dumber he looks, and more people will continue to realize it.”

On a possible fight with Demetrious Johnson: “I feel good about it. The reason why I’m so shredded at 135 is because I’m a professional athlete. I do everything the correct way. I put weight on to lose it. So I’ll do the exact same thing — I’ll just train my body differently. I’m already doing that. I’m not going too crazy because nothing’s official and I don’t want to get myself too low and have to worry about coming back up, but I’m normally waking up at 154 pounds in the morning when I’m fighting at 135. As of now, I’m waking up at 147. I’m lean and in shape. I’m dealing with) some injuries, but other than that, I feel great about it. It’s something that, when I was told the first time I was fighting Demetrious, like I said, I was waking up at 140 pounds. That’s only a little cut for me, so I’m feeling great about it. I’m a small ‘35er as is. I don’t cut much weight to make 135. Like I said, I put the weight on to cut it, so it’s something that I’m excited to do. I’m excited to see the transformation. What it really comes down to is that I believe I’m the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and to do that, I need to beat the best. And I can make his weight class.”

article topics :

T.J. Dillashaw, Joseph Lee