Following Dillashaw’s tightly contested, split decision loss to Cruz in January, there was a lot of talk about setting up an immediate rematch. Unfortunately for Dillashaw, there was more buzz about a rubber match between Cruz and Faber, and that’s the route the UFC went. The two will battle in the co-main event of UFC 199 on June 4th.
Recently Dillashaw’s striking coach, Duane Ludwig, spoke to Bloody Elbow.com about the UFC’s decision. While doing so, the retired fighter said this:
“T.J. one-hundred-percent should have gotten the rematch,” Ludwig said. “It’s just a favor from the UFC to give Faber one last payday before he retires.”
“Cruz will win,” added Ludwig. “Faber hasn’t improved much, if at all.”
So, if you’ve followed all the drama that’s gone down since Ludwig left Team Alpha Male, these comments won’t come as a shocker. Ludwig and Faber aren’t exactly on the best of terms, to put it mildly.
Will some folks agree with what he said? In terms of the UFC doing Faber a favor? Probably. But since those same people are going to join thousands of other fans to watch Cruz – Faber III, you know why the UFC booked the bout. Faber is the only man, ever, to defeat Cruz, who many say is the greatest bantamweight ever. With a back story like that, and their rivalry added into the mix, the fight makes a lot of sense. Even if, Dillashaw deserves another crack at the champ.
As far as Faber’s improvement, he’s a better fighter than when he faced Cruz last time around. The question is, will it be enough?