At UFC 207 on December 30th, UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will put his bantamweight strap on the line in the co-main event of the New Years Eve card as he steps into the Octagon against streaking undefeated bantamweight Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt, who will be entering the bout on a 10-fight win streak that has seen him go 5-0 in the UFC, finishing all but one of his opponents as he has climbed to the #5 spot on the UFC’s official bantamweight rankings.
While there’s no denying Garbrandt is one of the most impressive bantamweights on the UFC roster right now, former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw was campaigning for a title shot before the UFC announced Garbrandt as the next contender, even going as far as to attempt to bet Cruz $100,000 on the fight.
Now, with Cruz’ fight with Garbrandt set for UFC 207, the champ has explained why the UFC opted to book him for a fight with Garbrandt rather than a rematch with Dillashaw.
He spoke to MMAJunkie:
“The new owners of the UFC, they’re a management company, they deal with high, elite-level stars, and if you really look at the background of the people who just spent $4.2 billion on the UFC, they’re going to make specific decisions according to making the business better. Dillashaw, in my opinion, doesn’t make the business better. Cody, with the emotional wreck that he is, people can grasp to that because they see the emotion in him, they see what he’s thinking, they see what he’s feeling. He lets it all out. Dillashaw is fake. Everything Dillashaw does is a lie. He can’t let his true self out.
“If he did let his true self out I think he would be much more interesting – but Dillashaw holds back. You saw it in our first fight, in our first interview, he holds back his emotion. Now, after I punked him, and then I beat him and took away his interim title and made him realize he never was the champion, he started talking. You’re hearing more talking out of T.J. Dillashaw right now than you ever heard not only when he was the interim champion, but ever in his entire career. You’re hearing more of Dillashaw now. I helped Dillashaw. I made Dillashaw more relevant. I made Dillashaw have a voice and I taught Dillashaw how to come out of his own shell. He can hate me for that all he wants, but this guy is talking more than ever. That being said, he’s doing that after he lost the opportunity by not letting himself out in the first place.”
While Cruz and Garbrandt have certainly had their fair share of verbal disputes throughout the course of Garbrandt’s climb to a title shot, Cruz’ beef with Team Alpha Male is a very long and storied one, and one that will likely continue following Cruz vs. Garbrandt at UFC 207:
“(Garbrandt’s) run by Faber and he’s good at talking toward title shots,” Cruz said. “The guy’s got eight title shots he’s never completed, so any guy with that background in media and understanding how to get a title fight, is going to help Cody get that title fight, and that’s what he did. He coached Cody into getting a position by doing what the big executives of the UFC want to see.”