Demetrious Johnson undergoes surgery, delaying possible fight with TJ Dillashaw

UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson announced he underwent successful left shoulder surgery on Wednesday, in a development that could delay hope of a 2018 superfight against 135-pound champion TJ Dillashaw. 

Johnson, 31, posted a picture on social media of himself, standing in front of a mirror, with his left arm in a sling and a positive update on the procedure.

It’s currently unknown how long Johnson (27-2-1), the only 125-pound champion in UFC history, will be out of action or the length of time the recovery will take. 

Johnson, who has been vocal since December regarding his lingering shoulder pain, capped off a successful 2017 with a pair of dominant victories that earned him Fighter of the Year honors from multiple publications. Not only did “Mighty Mouse” set a UFC record for title defenses with his 11th, he likely authored the submission of the year when he tapped out Ray Borg with a highlight-reel armbar off of a suplex.

With little competition left in his cleaned-out division, the sport’s pound-for-pound king is focused on facing what might amount to his toughest test to date on paper in Dillahsaw, who regained the UFC bantamweight title by knocking out Cody Garbrandt in November. 

A fight between Dillashaw (15-3) and Johnson would certainly be one for P4P supremacy. It would also take place at 125 pounds, per Dillashaw’s curious insistence, even though he has never fought at that weight and Johnson is a former bantamweight. 

While no deal for the fight has been made, it’s still expected to happen in 2018 because all parties, including UFC president Dana White, have so much interest. Dillashaw spoke about his motivation during an interview last week with ESPN. 

“I’m looking to come in and dethrone him from his legacy,” Dillashaw said. “He won’t be able to call himself the GOAT anymore. It’s so easy for him to continue calling himself that and take the fights he thinks are a little easier. He’s a cerebral fighter. He and his coach are smart guys, and they know I bring the greatest threat. I think he knows that’s going to be a tough one for him to win.”

Dillashaw, whose only defeats have come in disputed split decisions against Raphael Assuncao and Dominick Cruz, is hoping a victory over the best fighter in the world in Johnson can see him claim the same title. 

“It’s frustrating because I believe I should be a lot higher [on the P4P top 10],” Dillashaw said. “Couple split-decision losses I felt should have gone my way. That’s the way this sport is. I don’t lose to Cruz [in 2016], I’m up there for best in the world. It’s all meant to be. It’s going to end up leading to a great thing.”