Exclusive – Eric Nicksick previews Aljamain Sterling’s fight with ‘dynamic’ T.J. Dillashaw: ‘It’s a great matchup’

T.J. Dillashaw
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari - Zuffa LLC

Xtreme Couture head coach, Eric Nicksick has shared his thoughts on this month’s undisputed UFC bantamweight title fight between his student, champion Aljamain Sterling, and former titleholder, challenger, T.J. Dillashaw – praising the dynamism of the latter and crediting him for revolutionizing standup fight at the bantamweight level.

Nicksick, the head coach of several leading UFC fighters including undisputed heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, and the aforenoted, Sterling – along with Ray Longo and Matt Serra, will prepare the latter for his trip to Abu Dhabi, UAE later this month to tackle Dillashaw at UFC 280.

UFC Promo

Defending bantamweight champion, Sterling, most recently co-headlined UFC 273 earlier this year against former champion, Petr Yan in the pair’s rematch – edging out the Russian with a close, split decision win in Jacksonville, Florida.

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As for Dillashaw, the former two-time division kingpin headlined in his promotional return in July of last year against common-foe, Cory Sandhagen, earning a title fight with a close split judging win of his own. The outing came as T.J. Dillashaw’s first since serving a two-year retroactive suspension issued by USADA after he tested positive for the banned substance, erythropoietin (EPO). 

Commenting on the style of Dillashaw and the overall game of the Angels Camp veteran whilst breaking down Sterling’s incoming title defense, the above-mentioned, Nicksick highlighted the former’s dynamic style at bantamweight.

“It’s nice getting matched up against who I think is one of the best coaching minds in the game (Duane Ludwig),” Eric Nicksick told Mike Owens during an interview with LowKick MMA. “It’s also nice not having to stand across from him, you know what I mean.”

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“All in all, I think T.J. (Dillashaw) brings a full MMA skillset from the feet to the floor, where he’s very dynamic in all areas,” Eric Nicksick explained. “I think it’s a great matchup to be quite honest with you.”

Eric Nicksick heaps praise on challenger, T.J. Dillashaw ahead of UFC 280

Credited with some of the best footwork and angle creation in the sport and the bantamweight division as a whole, T.J. Dillashaw has been praised for his part in revolutionizing that aspect of mixed martial arts by Nicksick.

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“I think when you change stances a lot, your defense suffers,” Nicksick said of T.J. Dillashaw. “I think guys like to switch stances because of what offense it brings out for them, but you get into a focus of purely offense. For me as a coach, if you’re switching stances, your defense suffers – then you shouldn’t be switching stances, because you’re going to get your ass knocked out.”

“… To me, I think T.J. does really well in his stance switch because his defensive soundness remains the same out of both orthodox and southpaw,” Nicksick explained.