The UFC Bantamweight Division has a new kingpin after UFC 207 as Cody Garbrandt shocked the world by defeating Dominick Cruz to become the UFC Bantamweight Champion. TJ Dillashaw, who himself is a former UFC bantamweight Champion, defeated John Lineker at the very same event and now believes he’s next in line for a title shot.
“I don’t have hard feelings (towards Garbrandt),” Dillashaw said to MMA Junkie. “I’m sure it’s going to be played up big time for all the drama and stuff. No hard feelings. Maybe a little bit with the unnecessary trash-talk when I’m not even fighting him. But, all I can say is thank you because now I’m going to get a title shot. For sure, with the drama leading up to this is – thank you.”
UFC President Dana White, who appeared on the Fox Sports 1 UFC 207 Post-Fight show, seems to be in agreement with Dillashaw.
“T.J. Dillashaw said that, if he doesn’t get the shot, then this whole thing is rigged,” White joked. “So I think I’m going to give the rematch to Dominick Cruz just to make him right. Dillashaw made it look easy against a very tough guy, a scary guy that can knock you out at any moment. And Dillashaw is a total conspiracy theorist and says nutty stuff all the time, but yes, he’s probably next in line.”
Garbrandt doesn’t seem to share the opinion of both Dillashaw and White, as he is in favor of giving an immediate rematch to Cruz.
“You know what? I had so much fun in there,” Garbrandt said. “Dominick’s been arguably the best bantamweight in the world. Let’s run that (expletive) back. Let’s give him an immediate rematch, so he can go off to the next chapter of his career. I would like to give Dominick a rematch, but it’s ultimately up to the UFC. But I’m the champion now. I’m the baddest dude in my division, so I call the shots.”
The former champion in Cruz, who wouldn’t mind a rematch at some point down the road, is seemingly fine with Dillashaw being next in line.
“T.J. wants next, I have no problem with that,” Cruz said. “The guy’s very good himself. We’ve had our exchange of words, and I wouldn’t take back one thing that I’ve said about anybody in the division.”
Garbarndt and Dillashaw used to train together at Team Alpha Male, but Dillashaw has since left to join Elevation Fight Team, which has caused a rift between the former training partners.
“I’m the baddest dude in the world, so bring ’em all,” Garbrandt said. “I already knew what I did to Dillashaw when I was 1-0. I was green, getting my ears wet, and I was just a fighter at heart. I’ve been the uncrowned champion, even when Dillashaw was on the team. Now I’ve got this, so anybody in my division can try to take it from me.”
Garbrandt has long claimed to be the only person to ever knockout Dillashaw, which apparently happened during a training session at Team Alpha Male, Garbrandt has event threatened to release a video of the incident.
Dillashaw lays claim that there is no such incident, even going as far to say that John Dodson is the only fighter who has come close to knocking him out cold.
“It’s definitely false,” Dillashaw said. “They’re not going to put anything out because I’ve never been knocked out. I’ve never been knocked out. The closest I got knocked out was when (John) Dodson hit me in The Ultimate Fighter Finale, and that got stopped. My lights went out, but that’s the closest I’ve been to being knocked out.”
2017 is going to be an interesting year for the UFC Bantamweight Division, with an undefeated champion and two former champions on his heels.