After putting his lengthy rivalry with Renan Barao to rest with an impressive fourth round stoppage in the main event of July 25’s UFC on FOX 16 from Chicago, Illinois, UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw was left with a cloudy future in regards to his next title contender.
The logical choice for Dillashaw’s opponent, top-ranked former champion Dominick Cruz is perpetually injured and unsure to return to full health anytime soon, and next option Raphael Assuncao, who owns a close spilt decision win over ‘The Viper’ in 2013, is also still on the shelf with an ankle injury that’s seemingly lasted for years.
That left Dillashaw with slim pickings at 135 pounds, so it was no surprise to see ‘The Viper’ call out for a bout with the ‘Notorious’ Conor McGregor – the interim featherweight champ who recently stopped his Team Alpha Male teammate Chad Mendes in the main event of UFC 189.
Although the Irish superstar picked up an impressive finish over late replacement ‘Money,’ it was against an opponent on short notice, and also one that had him dominated with a stream of early takedowns and ground and pound before gassing late in the second.
That lack of takedown defense has Dillashaw chomping at the bit to get his hands on McGregor, but he wants to do it sooner than later.
In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Dillashaw said that despite the loss, Mendes exposed McGregor and the top featherweights will take advantage of that, requiring him to strike while the iron is hot if a champion vs. champion super fight is actually going to happen:
“I don’t think he’s gonna last that long. I would like to do it now if I could, because I don’t think he’s going to last and be champion forever. He’s definitely going to get beat. I think Mendes showed the holes in his game and I think people will take advantage of it. I think Chad Mendes beats him, I think Frankie Edgar beats him. You know, I don’t know if he’s going to beat Aldo after watching that.”
Dillashaw went on to clarify that Mendes was ‘drinking beer’ when he got the call to face McGregor on 10 days’ notice at UFC 189, meaning his cardio, which normally takes quite some time to get up to speed due to ‘Money’s’ muscular frame, was obviously nowhere near where it should have been.
As a motivated champion who appears to never slow down in the octagon, Dillashaw most likely wouldn’t have that same problem against McGregor. Both are known for their unique styles of movement inside the cage, and also their diverse, unique, and dangerous striking.
But with ‘Notorious’’ main advantage being his massive size and reach even against featherweights, would the 135-pound boss find himself in over his head if he ever gets the fight he’s looking for?