In front of a sold-out crowd of 17,800 people at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, TJ Dillashaw steamrolled Cody Garbrandt in the main event to retain his bantamweight title. The co-main event saw Henry Cejudo shock the world and upset Demetrious Johnson to become the flyweight champion.
Cejudo said after his win that he wanted to do what Johnson wouldn’t do: Move up to 135 pounds and fight Dillashaw. Initially, the two-time bantamweight champion liked the idea but backed off the sentiment when asked it about during his post-fight press conference.
“I don’t think Cejudo would deserve a 135-pound title shot,” Dillashaw said. “(Joseph) Benavidez just beat him. I’m open to whatever, though.”
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The two champions aren’t the ones who make those important decisions. The one who does, UFC president Dana White, loves when his guys want to take on different challenges, but he is unsure if that will be the next step for Cejudo and Dillashaw.
“I love guys that want to fight everybody,” White said. “I love guys that are willing to jump, and I think the fans love guys like that, too. So, that’s always good to hear. I love it, but I don’t know. We will see what’s next and we will figure it out.
“The reason Conor McGregor is such a huge star is because he’s that guy and will do that. He’ll jump around, and he will fight anywhere and fight anybody. When you have that mentality, people like it.”
Before any talk of a Cejudo-Dillashaw showdown goes any further, Johnson deserves a chance to regain his belt. He was the first flyweight champion, went undefeated for seven years and set the UFC record with 11 consecutive title defenses.
Not to the surprise of many considering their frosty relationship over the years, White didn’t sound too enthused about Johnson getting an immediate rematch.
“That’s a possibility too,” White said.
Heading into UFC 227, people were down on the card because it was headlined by fighters in the bantamweight and flyweight divisions. Of the 12 fights that took place on Saturday evening, nine of them were at 135 pounds and under. While it is too early to project pay-per-view numbers, the Staples Center was filled to the rafters with the fans jumping out of their seats for the last two fights of the evening.
“We are always going to have criticism,” White said. “This card was full of the small guys. The first fight of the night and the second fight was women, right? We sold out the Staples Center. Every A-list celebrity and a who’s-who in Hollywood was here tonight.
“What are you going to do? There’s always going to be critics. It was an awesome night and a very successful night. I’m happy.”