Former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw is the owner of one of the most unique fighting styles in MMA. As such, he is an extremely difficult opponent to prepare for. Tailoring a game plan for his specialized blend of footwork, head movement, and takedowns is an undeniably stark challenge.
Dillashaw’s UFC 207 opponent John Lineker, however, is not particularly panicked about this challenge. In a recent interview with MMAJunkie.com, he shed some light on his very simple strategy for Dillashaw. In his last fight, which saw him narrowly defeat John Dodson, Lineker said he spent too much time chasing his opponent. Against Dillashaw, he plans to avoid doing this, thereby forcing Dillashaw to come to him. From there, he can get to work with his absurd punching power.
“I won’t make the same mistakes I made with Dodson, of running after him too much,” Lineker said. “[The strategy is] to get him to fall into my game, in the short distance, beware of the takedowns and try to impose my striking game. I don’t want to run after him like I did with Dodson, [I want to] make him play into my game.”
“If I don’t run after him, at some point he’ll need to come forward,” Lineker continued. “That’s what I want to do. To wait for him, try to move more laterally, more backwards, to see if he comes. At some point he’ll have to come forward. He can’t just run. The referee won’t let him.”
If Lineker’s game plan his successful, and he’s able to defeat Dillashaw, he’ll likely have put himself in line for a fight with the winner of UFC 207’s co-main event: a bantamweight title fight between champ Dominick Cruz and challenger Cody Garbrandt. Lineker also touched on this possibility in his interview with MMA Junkie.
“A victory for me will make that opportunity materialize,” he said. “I plan to grab the microphone and ask for my shot.”
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