Former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and rising bantamweight contender Cody Garbrandt used to be training partners at Team Alpha Male in California. Last year though, Dillashaw left the team to go train at Elevation Fight Team in Colorado, and things have soured.
Dillashaw lost the UFC Bantamweight title to Dominick Cruz by split decision at UFC Fight Night 81. Dillashaw didn't get an immediate rematch, as the UFC went with Cruz and former Dillashaw teammate and rival Urijah Faber at UFC 199 in June, with Cruz again emerging victorious. The 30-year-old was instead booked in a rematch against Raphael Assuncao at UFC 200. Dillashaw avenged the loss, winning by unanimous decision, meanwhile Garbrandt is undefeated in ten fights. He has looked impressive, winning nine of those fights by stoppage.
In his first main event at UFC Fight Night 88 in May, Garbrandt gave Thomas Almeida his first career loss, winning by first round knockout. At last Saturday's UFC 202 in the headlining preliminary fight, Garbrandt knocked out veteran Takeya Mizugaki in 48 seconds, possibly earning himself a title shot.
Garbrandt and Cruz have been going back-and-forth in a war of words and even had a brief altercation backstage at the event. By all accounts, it seems natural to make Garbrandt- Cruz next. The champion said on the UFC 202 post-fight show he would like to do that.
The UFC hasn't made a decision on who will get the next shot at Cruz. Dillashaw feels there's no way his former teammate should get the shot and he should get the next shot to reclaim his belt. He feels if Garbrandt gets the title shot, it would be based on entertainment value instead of who deserves it.
“I just don’t think there’s any way of them denying it, denying me that fight," Dillashaw said on Brian Stann's radio show Tuesday on SiriusXM Rush. "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.”
Thus far, no challenger for Cruz's title has been announced.