Newly crowned bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw shocked the world last night, not only by upsetting the odds and beating the formerly dominant Renan Barao, but by finishing him in convincing fashion. ‘The Viper’ put a stern beatdown on the unsuspecting ‘Baron’, put props where it’s due, the former champion hung on like a trooper until being eventually TKO’d in round five.
Speaking at the post fight press conference at the MGM Grabd Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, ‘The Viper’ discussed the fight with Barao:
‘I train for five round fights, even for three round fights. I’m a very well-conditioned athlete. I knew I had to pressure him the whole time. In the second round I could see a different look in his eyes, maybe I had him broke. I felt really good after the second round, and I knew I had him. It’ll be nice to get that win back against (Raphael Assuncao) that I thought I had.’
Dillashaw lost an extremely close, some might say controversial decision against the current number two bantamweight Raphael Assuncao. The split decision loss at Fight Night 29 could have seriously hindered T.J.’s title hopes, but the stars eventually lined up for the best performance of his career. The subject then moved to the possibility of Dillashaw fighting his team mate Urijah Faber, who is the top contender in the division right now:
‘Im going to continue to train with Team Alpha Male, but I’m going to cross train with Duane (Ludwig). I plan on getting my black belt under ‘Bang’, he is a genius. I still want to train at Team Alpha Male, these guys are the best sparring partners I can get for my weight class. I don’t plan on fighting Urijah, he’s helped to get me where I am at. He is like my brother, I wouldn’t like to do that fight.’
Now booked in to fight Alex Cacares at UFC 175, there is always a chance that ‘The California Kid’ and Dillashaw may not end up fighting, but something tells me that Faber will remain at the top end of the division for some time. UFC President Dana White was on hand, and he feels differently than T.J. on the subject of fighting friends:
‘You know how I feel about that, I’ve said it many times, I love that fight. We’ll see, we’ll see how Urijah feels about that. In that weight class, T.J. is the champ and Urijah is obviously a top contender. We’ll see what Urijah wants to do.’
The potential for a fight between Faber and ‘The Viper’ will always be alive until both men refuse to fight. Perhaps the rift between ‘The California Kid’ and former Team Alpha Male head coach ‘Bang’ Ludwig could lead to something down the line. What do you think of Dillashaw’s performance, and do you think he and Faber will be fighting anytime soon?
Outer Photo: Joshua S. Kelly, USA TODAY Sports