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T.J. Dillashaw: I'll finish Dominick Cruz faster than I did Renan Barao

Esther Lin photo

After UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw finished Renan Barao in their rematch at UFC on FOX 16, former champ Dominick Cruz went on The MMA Hour and all but called Dillashaw an imitator who is lucky to be where he is.

Tuesday was Dillashaw's chance to fire back. Appearing on The MMA Hour, Dillashaw took exception to the notion he stole Cruz's footwork- and movement-based style and ridiculed the idea Cruz was the first person to employ such tactics.

"It's so ridiculous, he's saying he's the first fighter to ever create movement?" Dillashaw said. "Was he the first fighter to ever throw a jab or feint? It's pretty ridiculous, when you really think about it. Because I switch my feet and change stances, I'm Dominick Cruz?"

Dillashaw says that should the highly anticipated fight get made -- which, as of now, is contingent on Cruz getting healthy enough to compete -- he'll show the difference between the two.

"For one, he switches stances to run away and throw one shot," Dillashaw said. "I've never even seen him throw a combo or look that great from the opposite stance. You know? I think I'm leaps and bounds ahead of him on my standup. I think I'm going to prove it, when we fight he's going to get knocked out."

The champ even went so far as to say that he'll have an easier time with Cruz than he did over the course of two one-sided fights with former champion Barao.

"I think I'll finish Cruz faster than I finished Barao," Dillashaw said. "Cruz has got a crazy style. But I think I'm going to finish him quicker than I finished Barao."

Cruz has never lost at 135 pounds, going 10-0 in the weight class since dropping down from 145 back in his WEC days. Because of that, he still lingers over the division, even though injuries have limited him to just one fight over the past four years.

Despite the charged words back and forth between the two, Dillashaw respects what Cruz has accomplished in the sport, and acknowledges that defeating Cruz would be major career benchmark.

"I definitely think it will help out," Dillashaw said. "The guy's been a champion, and he thinks he still should be because he's been out. For me to come and beat him the way I'm going to it's going to do wonders for my name. I'm really going to put a stamp on my career by beating Cruz."

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