Dana White has already denied that he threatened shutting down the flyweight division, as a means to push Demetrious Johnson into a scrap with TJ Dillashaw. But in a new, more recent interview, the UFC President has repeated that claim, more ‘enthusiastically’.
A few weeks ago, when White and Dillshaw were floating the idea of having the latter fight Johnson, the flyweight champ shot down the idea. Johnson believes that since Dillashaw has never fought at 125, other contenders, like Ray Borg, deserve the next title shot.
It didn’t end there, however, as Johnson proceeded to accuse White of bullying him, and threatening to punt the 125 division, if he didn’t fight Dillashaw. White denied that’s how things went down, and in a new interview with MMA Junkie, the UFC President said this:
“What I said to him was, ‘A couple of years ago, we were actually talking about getting rid of the division,’” White said. “There was never a threat to him, ‘Oh, we’re going to get rid of the division. That was complete bull(expletive), and 90 percent of what he came out and said was complete bull(expletive). Never did I say to him, ‘Hey, if you don’t do this, we’re going to get rid of your division.’ What I said to him was, ‘A couple of years ago, we were talking.’
“I built an ‘Ultimate Fighter’ around you to try and build you. He said he hasn’t been promoted. Who has defended that weight division more than me? I mean, I used to stand up in front of (the media) at the press conference going, ‘This kid is amazing. He’s unbelievable. He’s this. He’s that,’ which he is. I’m not saying he’s not. But we’re in a spot now where you had the opportunity to really get out there. T.J. Dillashaw called you out. He’s one of the best in the world, and he’s a former world champion…”
Now one could question why White even brought up the fact they were “talking” about axing the flyweight division? As this could be misinterpreted as a threat right?
All this aside, it will be interesting to see how Johnson’s relationship with the UFC is, following all this back-and-forth with White. If Johnson defends the 125 title again, for an 11th time, he will set a new record for the promotion.