The T.J Dillashaw-Urijah Faber saga has been one of the most compelling stories in MMA over the course of the last year or so.
It has been a slow building tale of perceived betrayal, that began with Dillashaw’s decision to stay loyal to Duane Ludwig despite the coach’s problems with Faber, and escalated in bitterness following the then UFC bantamweight champion’s switch to Colorado’s Elevation Fight Team.
Aside from the main characters, Dillashaw, Ludwig and Faber, the story has also featured a large supporting cast, which included those that had suffered from the collateral damage of the feud, like other members of TAM.
In the middle of it all though, another player seemed to enjoy his role as pot-stirrer and catalyst for escalation. That man was Conor McGregor.
Before hostilities had commenced, Dillashaw made a guest appearance alongside Faber on an episode of The Ultimate Fighter 22. “The Notorious” one took the opportunity to have a go at T.J and question Faber’s trust in him. McGregor gleefully labelled Dillashaw “a little snake in the grass”, a term that continues to haunt the fighter.
Reflecting on the brief time he spent on the reality show, Dillashaw now feels he was lured onto the set just so that he could be verbally attacked by the coaches.
“I felt like him bringing me on to The Ultimate Fighter was a trap,” said the now former 135lb ruler during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour(via MMAFighting).
“[It was] a way for him and Conor to bash on me for going to a different gym,” he added. “[Faber] bashing me is a way to stay relevant, so the media had something to talk about other than his horrible fights”.
Dillashaw seems to be gunning for Faber as of late, as this claim came only a short time after he took a shot at the former WEC featherweight champ in an ESPN interview.
Speaking to Brett Okamoto recently, Dillashaw rubbished the upcoming bantamweight title fight between Faber and Dominick Cruz, adding that “The California Kid” wasn’t up to the task of claiming a second victory over “The Dominator”.
“I’m pretty pissed. Faber isn’t deserving. The only way this guy has stayed relevant during the last year is talking s— about me. It’s unfortunate everything has become more about entertainment than sport. I just had a very competitive fight with Cruz. I don’t think Faber has a chance. I hope he does win, but it’s all about giving him his last title shot now. I think the UFC feels they can’t give him another fight before then and expect him to win”.
In an interview with Bloody Elbow, the aforementioned Ludwig did likewise.
“It’s just a favor from the UFC to give Faber one last payday before he retires,” said the former fighter. Ludwig added that he expected Cruz to win, before claiming that “Faber hasn’t improved much, if at all”.
If Faber can get past the masterful Cruz however, a fight between he and Dillashaw would be absolutely huge.
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