This July 8, when the UFC takes over Las Vegas with UFC 213, bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt will attempt to defend his title against a former champion – and former teammate – in TJ Dillashaw. On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, another former champion in Dominick Cruz gave his take on this upcoming battle.
Given that Cruz has fought both Dillashaw and Garbrandt – beating the first and losing to the latter – his thoughts on their fight are especially interesting.
In Cruz’s opinion, this fight will come down to the mental strain on Dillashaw, who has been ceaselessly vilified by Garbrandt and other former training partners like Urijah Faber, on the current season of The Ultimate Fighter, and over the last few months.
“I think Cody wins,” Cruz explained. “I think that what’s happening with that whole situation, and being involved on TUF Talk, and seeing what’s going on, talking to [Duane] Ludwig. talking to Dillashaw, talking to Cody, talking to certain people as I move through the sport and do this analyst gig, I think this beef really is Faber’s beef.”
“I think Cody will pretty much listen to Faber. If Faber told him to jump off a bridge head first, he would do it,” Cruz continued. “So he’s fighting Faber’s fight for him, plus TJ’s up for the belt. So it makes it easier for Cody to just say ‘F you TJ,’ plus, my favorite mentor, dad, coach, uncle, or whatever you want to call him, hates you too, so I really hate you. Really, I think that the whole problem stems from Faber being upset because Ludwig was teaching good stuff and it was taking some of the shine from Faber in Faber’s own camp. They had a separation, that caused problems with TJ. In my opinion, if Faber cared about TJ as much as he said he did, then he would have let him leave and better his career as a friend and coach.”
“So all that being said, TJ isn’t just fighting Cody. He’s fighting that entire camp. He’s fighting Danny Castillo, he’s fighting Faber, he’s fighting Cody. He’s fighting all his old coaches. He’s fighting all his old friends and family members. I think that mental strain, and the loneliness he’s feeling on that show and over this period of time is wearing on him and I think that the mental aspects of that are what get him beat against Cody, not the technical aspects that TJ has.”
What do you think of Dominick Cruz’s breakdown of Cody Garbrandt vs. TJ Dillashaw?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/1/2017.