When TJ Dillashaw, a man on the hunt for a fight, yesterday asked his followers on social media who they’d rather see UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson face next – Dillashaw or number three-ranked Ray Borg – it was akin to the most popular kid in school, the high-school quarterback, asking every one of the girls in his class whether dating him would be preferable to dating the school chess champion who eats lunch on his own and refuses to remove the cellophane from his sandwiches.
It just didn’t seem fair. After all, here was Dillashaw, a former UFC bantamweight champion with plenty of profile and popularity, a man set to face Cody Garbrandt in one of the fights of the year, measuring himself up against a man in Borg who is just 23 years of age and riding a two-fight win-streak (which includes a catchweight fight). Dillashaw later realised this, too. To his credit, not long after posting a poll on his Twitter account (162,000 followers), to which Borg (5,600 followers) responded in typically self-deprecating fashion, TJ wrote, ‘Nothing but respect for you.’
It was a nice way to end something that could have got out of hand. By something, of course, I mean a popularity contest used to make a fight. We’ve seen it elsewhere; it’s become something of the norm. Yoel Romero, for instance, didn’t like the idea of Georges St-Pierre getting a middleweight title shot before him, but it was that way because GSP, a superstar in Canada, was the man blessed with the bigger profile, if not the middleweight wins. It didn’t make sense, especially not to Romero, but it made financial sense, and there have been countless other examples of this, all of which serve to shine a light on a sudden emphasis for the biggest names to fight the biggest names in lieu – sometimes – of the best fighting the best, or at least the champion fighting the most deserving contender.
That said, Demetrious Johnson is one man who, they say, needs a name and a big fight. He needs a TJ Dillashaw rather than a Ray Borg at this point. Furthermore, Dillashaw, despite the fact he has never fought at flyweight before, and is therefore unranked down there, is a brilliant bantamweight seemingly intent on replacing one super-fight with another. The motives, therefore, are clear. This isn’t necessarily a man jumping the queue, nor using his name to muscle in and get what others deserve. Instead, Dillashaw, if the fight happens, would, in a sense, be doing both Demetrious Johnson and the flyweight division a favour. He’d help elevate a division and, inadvertently, may even help Johnson finally cement his status as the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet.
For the likes of Ray Borg, and everyone else who waits their turn at 125-pounds, this can, in the long run, only be a good thing.
This, by the way, is how it all started…
Just so the world know I haven't agreed to anything still waiting on my contract to fight @tazmexufc not @TJDillashaw if he wants a title
— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouse) May 24, 2017
It was at this point TJ Dillashaw got involved…
Would you rather see @MightyMouseUFC headline Seattle and fight Me or @tazmexufc ?
— TJ Dillashaw (@TJDillashaw) May 24, 2017
And that upset first Cody Garbrandt…
And then Ray Borg…
Lol of course fans are going to choose you, look at how much more established you are than me.
— Ray Borg (@tazmexufc) May 24, 2017
To finish, Borg used Dillashaw as an example of why he not only deserves a shot at ‘Mighty Mouse’ but could even dethrone him…