In a time when deposed champions like Ronda Rousey, Chris Weidman and Cain Velasquez are offered immediate rematches following stoppage losses, former UFC bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw is forced to campaign to face Dominick Cruz a second time.
Cruz won a thin split decision victory over five rounds Jan. 17 in Boston, Massachusetts to reclaim his title. On the sideline for nearly the past four years, Cruz made it clear he wants to cash in on a rubber match with longtime rival Urijah Faber.
"When you're the champion you don't have to talk s**t to push your way up to get that fight," Dillashaw told Submission Radio. "There's going to be plenty of guys talking their mouth off and making some drama to make it entertaining for them to get that title shot. Unfortunately, that's the way the UFC is going to work. It's all about money and promotion and entertaining. When you're the champion, you don't have to do that. Numbers are everything when it comes to this promotion. It's not about who actually deserves the rematch. It's all about the storyline and the drama behind it."
Dillashaw and Faber have sniped at one another for months following the former's exit from Sacramento's Team Alpha Male. Now with Faber standing in the way of a shot at Cruz, Dillashaw isn't pulling punches making his case to be next.
"No, he doesn't deserve it," Dillashaw said of Faber. "He's got a name behind him but his last performances? There's no way he should deserve a title fight. Just because he and Cruz have beef? It doesn't make sense. I'm the No. 1 contender. I felt I won that fight [with Cruz.] I think I'm the only UFC champ to lose his belt to a split decision. I don't feel like Urijah's done enough to get that fight. Obviously he's going to try to talk his way into that fight but I don't think he deserves it.
"The way he's looked? The guy is a dinosaur. He hasn't been looking very good. I feel like he's going downhill."
3-1 since being TKO'd by former bantamweight champ Renan Barao in 2013, Faber's only other hiccup came against featherweight contender Frankie Edgar in a five-round unanimous decision loss.
"Prime? No way," Dillashaw said of Faber. "He's good. Don't get me wrong. The guy is awesome and I have a lot of respect for him, but I don't think he's been looking as good as he used to. He's slowing down and not dominating guys. He had a tough fight with Francisco Rivera until he poked him in the eye. He didn't look good against Alex Caceres until he choked him. He just beat the No. 13 guy in a very close fight and was gassed out in the process.
"I just don't think he's looked as dominant as he has in the past. He was a better fighter four years ago. He's 37 years old. That's old. I don't want to be fighting when I'm 37 years old."
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Best part of my night. Walking hand in hand with my number 1 Fan and Granny https://t.co/BvwfArt0mL— Cowboy Cerrone (@Cowboycerrone) February 22, 2016
11th 1st. round finishes out of 15 wins . But y'all don't hear me tho— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) February 22, 2016
Thanks for showing me the way since day one from stepping on the blue mat!! https://t.co/J0yFzl5dzo— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) February 22, 2016
Thank you, I'm all good. Not a scratch https://t.co/owXEgGz2jA— Chris Camozzi (@ChrisCamozzi) February 22, 2016
It didn't come easy. We knew we were in 4 a war. But we got the W & it's only 4rm here. ☝ ️✨— Ashlee Evans-Smith (@AshleeMMA) February 22, 2016
This win belongs to... https://t.co/bMyAnTtDnC
2/21/16— Lauren Murphy (@LaurenMurphyMMA) February 22, 2016
First UFC win
Best Night Of My Life
Better luck next time.
I know my self and it's not enough. I am ready to start it again. My journey isn't finish yet I... https://t.co/j7JZiTPDE7— Roan Jucao (@jucao) February 22, 2016
Boss tell him to either stop the fight or let it go but he can't jump in front of me and back up later like he did https://t.co/LUBHovVmh9— Augusto Tanquinho (@tanquinhojj) February 23, 2016
@TheJamesKrause likewise sir. I had a fun time in there with you.— ShaneShaolinCampbell (@shaolinstylemma) February 22, 2016
Amigos e amigas, quero aqui agradecer primeiramente a Deus que me permite ter saúde, uma família... https://t.co/AqHZa0HFI9— Daniel Sarafian (@danielsarafian) February 22, 2016
Sorry guys. I know most of you are still proud of me but I'm just disappointed in myself. Thank you all for the support.— Jonavin Webb (@jonavinwebb) February 22, 2016
@flower_brute bahahaha, YES!— Marion Reneau (@BelizeanBruiser) February 22, 2016
Tough decision loss last night... But, still loved every minute inside that cage... Can't wait to get better and do it all over again.— Anthony Hamilton (@AHamilton_MMA) February 22, 2016
@Rick_Story Pat White called said he wants his trick back on the corner... If you don't go back, I am to collect.— Nathan Coy (@NathanCoyMMA) February 22, 2016
@norman_parke you nervous baby?:)— Rustam Khabilov (@RustamTheTiger) February 22, 2016
Announced yesterday (Feb. 22 2016)
Cyril Asker vs. Jared Cannonier at UFC Fight Night: Dos Santos vs. Rothwell
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