clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

T.J. Dillashaw on Dominick Cruz: 'I'd be happy to put him back in retirement'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

With Dominick Cruz's explosive return after three years out of competition, current UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw at least knows who his next title defense will come against.

It'll be against none other than "The Dominator," Dominick Cruz, who was stripped of the belt after injuries prolonged his return. And just a few days removed from Cruz's annihilation of No. 5-ranked Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 178 -- in which Cruz referred to Dillashaw's Team Alpha Male team as "Alpha Fails" after the fight -- the feud between Cruz and Dillashaw is already getting heated. Cruz has had a long rival with Team Alpha Male owner, Urijah Faber -- the last man to defeated Cruz back in 2007.

Speaking to UFC Tonight, Dillashaw responded to the barb, and said he'd willingly send Cruz off again into the sunset.

"I thought he looked good, and I am happy for him to be able to return," he told Ariel Helwani. "I thought his 'Alpha Fail' [line] was a little uncalled for since I've shown nothing but respect, but I'd be happy to put him back in retirement."

Dillashaw won the 135-pound title at UFC 173 with a shocking upset of Renan Barao, who hadn't lost in over nine years heading in. Barao -- who was deemed the interim champion while Cruz recovered from his ACL surgeries, and later the undisputed champion when Cruz late tore a groin -- had three title defenses in he reign. Dillashaw has compiled one, which came against Joe Soto at UFC 177 in Sacramento.

Soto was a stand-in for Barao, who was plucked from the card at the eleventh hour after hurting himself during the weigh cutting process. Given the problems Barao has had making weight, the UFC made it clear after the incident that Barao had forfeited his right to a rematch right away. So when Cruz scored an emphatic 61-second TKO of Mizugaki, he became the obvious No. 1 contender.

Asked if Cruz was deserving of the next title shot, Dillashaw told UFC Tonight he was all for it.

"I'm not complaining because I've wanted to fight him for a long time," he said.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting