Well, following TJ Dillashaw’s second victory over Renan Barao, it hasn’t taken long for the bantamweight champ and Dominick Cruz to get into it huh?
Now that Dillashaw has answered any questions as to whether his win over Barao last May was a ‘fluke’, speculation and discussion about a fight with Cruz has really kicked off. Of course, since Cruz never in fact lost the bantamweight title, and was stripped of it due to a series of knee injuries, it makes sense. Especially because Cruz has a well established rivalry with Dillashaw’s teammate Urijah Faber, and has taken aim at Team Alpha Male on several occasions.
Following Dillashaw’s stoppage win at UFC on FOX 16, the dynamic fighter has acknowledged that a bout with Cruz, or Raphael Assuncao (who defeated him in 2013) makes sense. The champion also opined that Cruz doesn’t have “power behind in his punches” and that he sees himself “definitely” defeating the latter.
Well, Cruz recently appeared on “The MMA Hour”, and not surprisingly, the former champ had plenty to say about Dillashaw. Here is but some of what “The Dominator” relayed while discussing the current, bantamweight king (quote via MMA Fighitng.com):
“He only beat Renan Barao. That’s the only guy in the top-five he’s beaten. He lost to Assuncao — Assuncao was in the top-five when he lost to him. He lost to John Dodsonwhen John Dodson was in the top-five. He’s only beaten Renan Barao. He beat Joe Sotowho’s now, is he even in the UFC anymore? That’s my point. He hasn’t fought anybody to be a champion. T.J. Dillashaw still needs to fight somebody as good as me to even believe in himself. He has no clue what he’s facing and he has no clue what it is to face a real champion, because he got given an opportunity from me being hurt. Renan was already an interim belt holder, and then he beat the interim belt holder to think he’s champion. I don’t think so. He’s lucky I’ve been hurt.”
Now sure, beating Barao not once, but twice, is no small accomplishment, but it’s not surprising to hear Cruz talk this way.
In the interview, the 29 year-old relayed that he’s hoping to fight again in January. So, if that’s the case, it will be interesting to see if the UFC elects to wait for Cruz. Assuncao broke his ankle last December and hasn’t fought since, so, the UFC could go with Dillashaw-Assuncao II in the interim.