With a title shot no longer possible for either T.J. Dillashaw or John Lineker, the bantamweight division’s rising contenders are taking the next best thing: a chance to become the undisputed No. 1 contender.
Dillashaw vs. Lineker is reportedly being eyed for UFC 207 Dec. 30 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, per ESPN.
The former UFC bantamweight champion, Dillashaw looks to make it two in a row since dropping the title to Dominick Cruz at UFC Fight Night 81 in January. Dillashaw became champion in Cruz’s absence at UFC 173, authoring a massive upset over then-titleholder Renan Barao with a fifth-round TKO. The Elevation Fight Team standout went on to defend the title twice, stopping both Joe Soto and Barao, before dropping the crown to Cruz in a narrow split decision. He’s since avenged a loss to Raphael Assuncao, topping the Brazilian via unanimous decision at UFC 200.
Lineker, meanwhile, has quickly made a name for himself at 135 pound since abandoning the flyweight division in 2015. “Hands of Stone” has defeated Francisco Rivera, Rob Font, Michael McDonald and John Dodson since making the jump, stopping Rivera and McDonald in the opening round. Considered to be one of the hardest punchers south of 155 pounds, Lineker stands as a true threat to just about everyone in the bantamweight division.
UFC 207 also features Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey for the women’s bantamweight title, and Cruz vs. Cody Garbrandt for the bantamweight crown. With Rousey’s return firmly in the spotlight, the Dec. 30 pay-per-view event is expected to be one of the biggest events of the year.