Dillashaw: Cruz is a “Powder Puff Champion”
The UFC bantamweight division is on display at UFC 207, and not just in Dominick Cruz’s title defense against Cody Garbrandt. Right before that fight, former champ T.J. Dillashaw will take on John Lineker. Dillashaw is a man on a mission, motivated by the rematch with Cruz that he believes he already deserved.
Dillashaw lost his title to Cruz in January, dropping a razor-thin split decision. Believing he had won the fight, Dillashaw lobbied for an immediate rematch but the call never came.
Instead, he avenged a previous loss to Raphael Assuncao at UFC 200 in July. Again, Dillashaw was passed over for the title shot by Garbrandt.
A victory over Lineker should surely cement Dillashaw as the next title challenger, but the former champion believes that Cruz wants no part of a rematch.
“I think he’s gonna try to avoid me as long as possible,” Dillashaw told the media ahead of UFC 207. “He wants to retire before fighting me again. He knows I won that fight. He doesn’t want to build that fight up. He ignores everything. I tried betting him $100,000 on this fight. I tried doing whatever I possibly could to get this fight and he’s just ignoring it so there’s no talk about it.
“The only way these title fights and these big fights happen is if you guys and the fans talk about it. All the UFC cares about is selling tickets and if he doesn’t bring up my name it’s easy for him not to fight me. It’s easy for him to ignore the fact that he’s admitting to me after the fight when the bell rings, ‘Congratulations, you won that fight’ but then the announcement happens and he’s best in the world, he’s pound-for-pound king.”
When Cruz vs. Garbrandt was announced, Dillashaw was left wondering why he had been skipped over by a lesser ranked contender. He believes that the UFC gave the matchup a big push by placing Cruz and Garbrandt in public confrontation scenarios, and the subsequent hype was enough to make the fight.
“I don’t know if it’s the UFC trying to promote Dominick Cruz to keep him on top so he can have a nice, comfy desk job after this is all done and said and have a good name for it or if it’s just because Cody’s very colorful and willing to say stupid s**t and talk crap. He’ll make himself look like a fool to get what he wants…
“You saw the build up. After Cody beat No. 11, they’re going back and forth from Cody and Cruz up in the booth. This thing was completely built. It was built from the beginning. I do think [Cruz] is hand selecting and choosing what fights he wants. I think he’s being a powder puff champion.”
Dillashaw does have a backup plan if he does not get the rematch with Cruz after a victory over Lineker. Able to make the bantamweight limit of 135 pounds comfortably, Dillashaw is considering a potential drop to flyweight if it means a quicker path to a championship.
“I’m not gonna wait around forever to get a belt back… If I’m gonna continue to get overlooked, if Cruz is gonna continue to pick guys in the top 10 instead of the top 5 I might have to go [to another division]. The goal is to have a belt around my waist.”