Back in November, in the co-main event of UFC 217, TJ Dillashaw reclaimed the UFC bantamweight title, surviving a first-round knockdown to stop Cody Garbrandt with a volley of second-round punches.
Since then, the former champion Garbrandt has been outspoken in his desire for an immediate rematch. Garbrandt’s calls reached a crescendo when UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway was forced out of his UFC 222 title fight with Frankie Edgar, leaving the card without a main event. It was his hope that he and Dillashaw would rematch in card’s new headlining bout.
In the end, of course, this is not the way things shook out. Dillashaw firmly shut down this rematch talk, citing nagging injuries and the recent birth of his son. In Dillashaw’s eyes, though, this wasn’t an opportunity Garbrandt deserved anyway. The champ explained why his rival shouldn’t get an immediate rematch on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.
“It’s about this being a legitimate sport and doing it the right way,” Dillashaw said. “Tell me one other champion who never defended his belt and got an immediate rematch. He never once ever defended his belt — it wasn’t like he was a long-reigning champion or that he got robbed or whatever. There’s never ever been another champion that’s done it, so why are we making this precedent for Cody to get a rematch when he’s never defended his belt and then got knocked out? Like, how does that make sense whatsoever? So really, all I’ve got to do is state the facts.
“This is a sport. Get back in line. It took me two years to get a title shot off a split-decision loss to Dominick Cruz that the UFC told me they thought I won. It took me two years to get back to that case. Like, I worked my way back. I beat two No. 1 contenders to get there. It’s a sport, you’ve got to push hard and you’ve got to get after it. You can’t complain, you can’t be a sore loser and all this shoulda, coulda, woulda stuff.
“So it’s a little frustrating, but easy to put behind you. Let him continue to talk, [I’ll] be myself, and the more he talks, the dumber he looks, and more people will continue to realize it.”
What do you think of this argument from TJ Dillashaw.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/20/2018.