Someone who will be keeping a close eye on the UFC Bantamweight Title fight between Henry Cejudo and Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 is T.J. Dillashaw. The former two-time Bantamweight Champion knows the two very well, as he faced them inside the octagon before.
How does Dillashaw see a fight between the returning Cruz and Cejudop going? Speaking with TMZ Sports, Dillashaw (16-4) gave an edge to the man who hasn’t fought since 2016 in Cruz.
“If I’m a betting man I’d bet on Dominick Cruz,” Dillashaw stated. “I think that his awkward fighting style is too tough to deal with. It’s not super technical but he uses it to his advantage, he gets people to play his game. He’s going to point-fight Cejudo and he’s going to out-point him and win via decision. ”
After winning the UFC Bantamweight Title against Renan Barao, Dillashaw lost the title to Cruz (22-2) in one of the latter’s comeback fights. Cruz gave him a run for his money, and his unorthodox style is something that will come into play during his fight on May 9. Dillashaw believes Cruz can out-point Cejduo, who is a former UFC Flyweight Champion in his own right.
“It’s really tough to prepare for Dominick Cruz because no one really matches his style. It’s very awkward,” Dillashaw continued. “Like I said, it’s not super technical; he leaves himself open for a lot of things. What he does good is he gets you to play his game; he got me overly aggressive.”
Dillashaw credited Cruz for helping him prepare for a bout against Cody Garbrandt. He beat Garbrandt at UFC 217 to win the Bantamweight Title for the second time. The trash-talking by Cruz in the octagon helped when Garbrandt would do the same.
The last fight for Dillashaw was against Cejudo in January 2019. Cejudo beat him via TKO in the first round in Dillashaw’s flyweight debut. The two were supposed to fight again for bantamweight gold, but Dillashaw was suspended two years after testing positive for the performance enhancer EPO. Dillashaw admitted that he took an anemia medication called Procrit, which had large traces of EPO.
Choosing Cruz over Cejduo (15-2), Dillashaw thinks that as a true bantamweight Cruz has the ultimate edge.
“I think Cejudo’s the easier one to train for. I don’t think he’s all what he’s cracked up to be,” Dillashaw said. “He’s done some amazing things, he’s a great athlete in the sport… won an Olympic gold medal… I still don’t think he gets it done, I think Cruz outpoints him.
Looking to receive a title shot when he returns, Dillashaw acknowledges his mistakes while hoping to face one of these two men down the line. UFC 249 takes place inside the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.