T.J. Dillashaw said he was going to finish Cody Garbrandt even more emphatically in the championship rematch, and that’s exactly what he did at UFC 227.
Dillashaw, the two-time bantamweight champion, battered ‘No Love’ from pillar-to-post in the UFC 227 main event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, finishing his former teammate with a barrage of strikes in the first round.
After earning back-to-back knockout wins over Garbrandt, Dillashaw questioned whether his opponent has the chin and durability to compete at the highest level in the UFC.
“I think he has some technical problems that he needs to fix,” Dillashaw said at the post-fight press conference, per MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi. “And I really don’t believe he’s got a chin. He plays a dangerous game. He likes to get in there and he likes to slug it.”
The defending champ says he suspected something was off with Garbrandt in their first bout at UFC 217, where Dillashaw dropped the 27-year-old with a light head kick in the second round.
“It wasn’t anything in sparring,” Dillashaw said. “Cody was coming into the team as I was leaving, so we didn’t really get to work out as much as has been in the media. It was more when I hit him in the first fight with my foot. I dropped him with that left kick. I didn’t feel like that left kick had anything on it, but it affected him.”
Garbrandt hadn’t been dropped or knocked out prior to his first matchup with Dillashaw in 2017, but there are now certainly red flags regarding his defense and ability to take a punch, which other bantamweights may look to exploit in his road back to title contention.
Dillashaw, 32, says he and his coach, Duane Ludwig, noticed glaring technical errors in Garbrandt’s stand up and worked hard to capitalize on his mistakes come fight night.
“We were planning on him throwing a right hand,” Dillashaw said. “Every time he throws a right hand, he drops his left. He’s looking to throw a left hook. He’s fast. He throws a big right, left hand. But he drops it to his pocket. So were planning on timing it.”
With the win, Dillashaw declared himself the best bantamweight of all time and entertained a possible fight with newly-crowned flyweight champ Henry Cejudo, who beat Demetrious Johnson in a stunning upset in the UFC 227 co-main event. Dillashaw could also go on to rematch Dominick Cruz, who he lost to in a controversial split decision back in early 2016.
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