T.J. Dillashaw might be very unhappy with his employers soon.
Dillashaw lost the bantamweight championship to Dominick Cruz back in January via contentious split decision. Since then he has been angling for a rematch, though Cruz himself seems rather cool to the idea, preferring super-fights with Jose Aldo or Conor McGregor.
Though no official opponent has been announced as Cruz's next challengers, Dillashaw thinks that shot should rightfully be his, and on Brian Stann's radio show Tuesday on SiriusXM Rush, the former bantamweight champion had some strong opinions on why he should be next in line to face Cruz.
"It only makes sense. If you really look at the sport, when the No. 1 ranked fighter beats the No. 2 ranked fighter, the only thing that's up next for him is a title fight. Who else am I gonna fight? The guy I lost a razor close decision to and, in my opinion, I won the fight. All I want is a chance to prove that I'm the better fighter and I did that by beating the No. 2 [guy] Raphael Assunscao. I did my job. I did what I was supposed to do to get that shot."
After losing the belt to Cruz, Dillashaw believed he would get an immediate rematch with the champion, but was instead passed over for a trilogy fight between Cruz and Dillashaw's old mentor, Urijah Faber. Instead, Dillashaw had to rematch the last man to beat him (before Cruz) Raphael Assuncao. At UFC 200, Dillashaw won that fight via unanimous decision and appeared to set himself up for another go at Cruz. However, in the mean time, Dillashaw's former training partner Cody Garbrandt has been engaging in a war of words with Cruz which has piqued the champion's interest, but which Dillashaw sees as Garbrandt cutting in line to avoid fighting tougher opponents.
"He knows I'm able to beat him and that's a tough fight and he wants to get his shot. But he's just trying to skip the line ultimately. He's doing a smart job of it. He's performing. He's doing his job as well. He's knocking these guys out but then he's adding a little extra by talking some crap. He's turning it into the WWE and creating this whole drama that people want to see.... It just doesn't make sense how No. 8 can beat No. 11 and get a title shot and skip everyone."
But Garbrandt may indeed jump in front of Dillashaw for the next title shot. After his scintillating knockout of Takeya Mizugaki last weekend, Garbrandt called out the champion, and on the post-fight show, Cruz essentially agreed to fight him. Still, Dillashaw doesn't believe that is the fight the UFC will make.
"I just don't think there's any way of them denying it, denying me that fight. And if they do, it's a straight up robbery and this is not even a sport anymore. If they don't give me that title fight, they skip me and give it to someone else, this is turning into more of the entertainment factor drama than it is an actual sport, and I hope we stay on the side of continuing to be a sport. Let's really have the best fight the best. I think that's the way it needs to go."
This argument of entertainment superseding the sporting aspects of MMA is an ever present topic in the community but has recently been brought back to the forefront with the advent of many champions pursuing "money" fights instead of fighting the highest ranked challengers in their divisions, most notably with Tyron Woodley seeking a fight with Nick Diaz in leiu of No. 1 contender Stephen Thompson and with Michael Bisping taking on 12th-ranked Dan Henderson instead of numerous other middleweight challengers. Ultimately, fight promotion often comes down to making the fights the fans want to see, and trash talking serves to set this up in a more viscerally digestable way than quiet excellence.
Still, Dillashaw has no intention of changing the way he operates. Dillashaw was adamant that even if he is skipped over in favor of the trash talking Garbrandt, it won't change his approach.
"I just don't feel like I can do it. I'm not a guy that's gonna go out there and not be me and be fake and talk a bunch of crap... I'm trying to be as professional as possible when it comes to interviews and doing all the media and then being an aggressive mean son of a bitch when it comes to fighting."
Temporary. Brock Lesnar was issued a temporary suspension for his two failed UFC 200 drug tests.
Numbers. UFC 202 prelims bring in 1.3 million viewers, a drop off from UFC 196.
Promises. Cody Garbrandt vows to break Dominick Cruz's jaw, calls him 'bitch-made.'
Laughable. Andre Pederneiras doesn't believe Conor McGregor has confidence in a rematch against Jose Aldo.
Curious. Li Jingliang tests positive for clenbuterol, temporarily suspended by NAC but not USADA.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Money talks. John Nash of Bloody Elbow delves into the pay differences between MMA fighters and boxers and why boxers make more money.
Here's that time Demian Maia almost killed Rick Story in the Octagon.
Colin Cowherd saying boxing is dead for the 5,000th time.
Super excited that this will be talked about again.
UFC 202 TTTHS
Double dose of TTTHS
Condolences to the Bad Guy.
Bad times don't last, but BAD GUYS do.., pic.twitter.com/tTxC1zMwqn— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) August 24, 2016
Hahaha u didn't even win— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) August 23, 2016
Good on you man.
Pretty good gig if you can get it.
Made 2 million while cheating and knew he was gonna get tested. A quick in and out fuck you dude.https://t.co/7zHpsFHBm6— Erik Jon Koch (@NEWBREED04) August 23, 2016
Khabib fans are relentless.
Puts the Olympics in perspective.
Gus getting his own show.
Det känns otroligt kul att få vara först ut i Viaplay Sport Sveriges satsning på sportdokumentärer. Kolla in mina förberedelser mot comebacken i UFC och min match i Hamburg den 3:e september på @Viaplay i miniserien "Inside: Alexander Gustafsson". Premiär onsdagen den 31 augusti. Följ min resa på @viaplaysverige . #viaplayfighting #teammauler Really happy to be the first athlete covered by Viaplay and their new focus on sport documentaries. Follow my preparations for my comeback at UFC Hamburg on September 3rd in the miniseries "Inside: Alexander Gustafsson". Premier Wednesday August 31st only at Viaplay.
Can't believe him, doing his job and stuff.
Stephen Peterson (14-4-0) vs. Mark De La Rosa (7-0-0); Legacy FC 61, October 14.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2012: Marcos Galvao defeated Luis Noguiera via elbows to win the Bellator Season Bantamweight Tournament at Bellator 73. Also at this event, Attila Veigh knocked out Travis Wiuff to win the light heavyweight tournament that season.
T.J. deserves the Cruz rematch, but I've got the feeling Garbrandt will be getting the next shot. Maybe they'll do T.J. vs. Faber in the co-main of that event at least.
That's it for today. Halfway through the week everybody. See y'all tomorrow.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.