TJ Dillashaw has responded to talk of him granting Cody Garbrandt an immediate rematch with some harsh words for the Team Alpha Male product’s ability to take a punch.
For all the spectacular happenings at UFC 217 earlier this month, TJ Dillashaw’s win over his heated rival Cody Garbrandt managed to see him make the strongest argument out of the three title winners on the night for his spot in the pound-for-pound debate.
It was a thrilling contest from start to finish and one that bore all of the tension you’d expect following the turbulent history between both Dillashaw and his former training partner. And while both men were able to display their power to great effect over the course of the bout’s two-round runtime, it was the ‘Bang Muay-Thai’ fighter whose hand was raised and Team Alpha Male’s brightest star who was sent home in defeat.
When you think about, Dillashaw’s UFC run has seen him lose by way of knockout to John Dodson in a fight that was his UFC debut, be on the receiving end of a split decision to the veteran Raphael Assuncao (a loss he later avenged at UFC 200) as well as his 135lb title loss to the former long-time champ Dominick Cruz in a bout so closely contested that many still debate its result to this day.
All in all, it’s been a pretty amazing showing from the two-time belt-holder so far and in his aforementioned wins over both Garbrandt and Assuncao, as well as his victory over the hard-handed John Lineker, he was able to display a progression in his skill set that simply shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.
Bantamweight is looking better than ever these days but despite the fact that the pool of talent could easily muster up a worthy title-challenger before Dillashaw is ready to fight again next year, the prospect of stepping ten pounds down to flyweight for a super-fight with the champ Demetrious Johnson just seems to be the only fight on his radar right now.
TJ spoke to FloCombat in a recent interview and responded to the calls from both the fans and the Team Alpha Male faithful that have stated that the recently-dethroned Garbrandt should be given an immediate rematch and when you listen to his argument, it’s hard to imagine that ‘No Love’ will see a repeat fixture of his last fight unless he is willing to put in the work to make his claim undeniable.
“He definitely doesn’t deserve a rematch. He never actually defended his belt. In my mind, you’re not even really a champion until you defend your belt. He never ever once defended it, and he got knocked out in the second round. I lost a split decision against Cruz when the owners of the UFC told me they thought I won the fight. You tell me how that makes sense. No, he’s going to have to build his way back up.
“He is good enough, but he does have holes in his game and I think I’ve proved that now. I also don’t believe he has a chin. I think a lot of people are scared of his power, and there are some guys in the weight class that can hang with [him]. It’s going to be a tough road. He’s definitely good enough to do it, but it’s going to be tough.”
The fact that Dillashaw took two contender bouts after what was such a razor-thin loss to the returning Dominick Cruz says a lot about his eagerness to be sitting atop the division and when you consider that a second-round KO is a far more comprehensive defeat than the one he himself encountered, it’s easy enough to side with TJ on this one.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena