Although Dominick Cruz believes TJ Dillashaw has Cody Garbrandt beat, when it comes to physical tools and skill, the former 135 champ believes “No Love” will retain the title at UFC 213.
Dillashaw will challenge Garbrandt for the bantamweight title at the July 8th card, which will go down in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you’ve followed the back story to the bout, then you know there’s a ton of emotion and ill will tied to it. Ever since Dillashaw elected to go train with Team Elevation and Duane Ludwig in Colorado, and was banned from training with Team Alpha Male, Garbrandt has been extremely critical of his former teammate. The two coach opposite one another on TUF 25, and Dillashaw’s split from TAM continues to be front-and-center, especially since Urijah Faber is part of Garbrandt’s team.
Cruz was a guest on this week’s “MMA Hour”, and he was asked for his take on Garbrandt – Dillashaw. Here is some of what the storied fighter had to say (quote via Bloody Elbow):
“I think stylistically, TJ has the technique and the tools to beat a guy like Cody,” Cruz said. “He kicks fluently, he mixes his punches and kicks. Cody has the edge in the power in the pocket, but TJ can make up the pocket work with kicks, movement, and angles, and he’s kicking a little bit more than I did against Cody, so I think that will play to his advantage.”
“But as for the mental game, I think the fact that TJ is facing that whole camp, not just Cody Garbrandt, I think that’s really wearing on TJ. I think it’s going to keep wearing on him. I think the mental is what gets him beat against Cody.”
Considering Cruz is one of the best analysts in the game, and because he’s fought both Dillashaw and Garbrandt, he’s a pretty good source for a prediction here. You do have to wonder if Dillashaw will be too emotional come fight night, as all the drama with TAM may have taken its toll. Then again, maybe the former champ will use it as focal point for motivation. Hard to say. On paper, Garbrandt – Dillashaw has all the makings of a fantastic bout.