UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw will be the one who wanders into the other champion’s territory when he challenges flyweight titleholder Henry Cejudo on Saturday night.
But the two-time 135-pound champion doesn’t seem too concerned what Cejudo will bring to the cage when they meet in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ at the Barclays Center in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.
While Dillashaw acknowledged Monday at a media day in Los Angeles that Cejudo put on an impressive performance when he earned a split decision to win the 125-pound belt from longtime titleholder Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227, Dillashaw said his opponent is neither a dangerous fighter nor an interesting one.
“He’s gotten a lot better,” Dillashaw told reporters. “I was impressed with his growth. But he’s not like a dangerous fighter, he’s a little more of a boring fighter. But he’s smart, right? I think that’s where I’m going to pick him apart is that I’m going to be able to put it all together.”
Dillashaw is coming off back-to-back knockout wins over Cody Garbrandt, and while he’s not specifically predicting a knockout this time around, Dillashaw does believe he’ll claim Cejudo’s belt inside of 25 minutes.
“I can’t tell you exactly which way I’m going to finish him, but my pressure is going to be too much,” Dillashaw said. “I’m too well-rounded that I can take the fight anywhere, and he’s going to want to fold. He doesn’t have that competitive edge that I have.”
This bantamweight-flyweight superfight had long been talked about as a Dillashaw-Johnson fight before Cejudo came along and ended DJ’s lengthy reign.
Dillashaw admits that taking out Johnson, who was considered by many the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter, was a motivation Cejudo can’t quite replace.
“I was chasing [Johnson] down, he had that No. 1 pound-for-pound spot,” Dillashaw said. “So that meant maybe just a little bit more. But Cejudo is a great athlete, he went out there with a great plan. I’m not too sure that I can say that he won that one decisively over Demetrious, but he showed some great improvements. Really its just me being dominant over everyone I fight and it’s going to be exciting but I was chasing Demetrious, yes.”
However, the idea of beating the 2008 Olympic wrestling gold medalist at his own game is a challenge Dillashaw seeks.
“I’m going to outwrestle him too,” Dillashaw said. “I am.”