Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw still believes he can be champion again, especially if Aljamain Sterling is holding the belt.
Despite losing to Sterling in their first round at UFC 280, Dillashaw doesn’t think “Funkmaster”, is the greatest bantamweight anywhere. He believes that he could have won the belt third time if not for the shoulder injury that hampered him during their fight. Sterling was previously called the “most besiegable” champion on UFC’s roster.
” I feel that he got the belt because of the way he dealt with it. Then he won [in a rematch with ex-champ Petr Yan at UFC 273],”, as the former champ said on The MMA Hour .. “Look man, he’s a great athlete, he’s on a great win streak, he’s gotten to the top, but I don’t think he’s the best champion we’ve got out there. He’s not the greatest in his division. This is especially true in our division. I didn’t want to allow that opportunity slip by my hands, though it happened. But yes, my opinion does not changed.”
When asked who on the UFC roster would defeat Sterling, Dillashaw said that he was from the champ’s area.
“I think his teammate, Merab (Dvalishvili), beats him,” Dillashaw said. “He does have some strengths. There’s guys at the top that he can beat because their grappling isn’t where it should be. So maybe I’m just thinking about it personally and how I match up against him, because he matches up great against some of the guys that won’t be able to deal with his wrestling. So he could get some good wins and stay on top with the right matchups, but he’s not very dangerous. He’s not a guy that’s going to come and knock you out. Although he will do his best to dry-hump your toes .”
Dillashaw. 36, said that the former two-division champion Henry Cejudo would beat Sterling “easily”.
” I think it’s a fantastic matchup for Henry Cejudo,” Dillashaw stated. “He’s just got the wrestling pedigree, and his striking is, I think, a lot better than Aljamain’s. Aljamain doesn’t have much structure. I guess his funkiness works for him, because he doesn’t throw things the way you’re supposed to, and he doesn’t set up his kicks – 90 percent of his strikes are kicks.”
Dillashaw said one of the reason he fought hurt – and insulted Sterling’s striking in the buildup to UFC 280 – was to goad the champ into a striking battle that favored him. But now, he will be sidelined until healthy once again. Set to undergo surgery this week to repair his injured shoulder, he said it will be his third such procedure and keep him from training for at least six months. He dismissed the idea of retirement, however.
In the wake of Dillashaw’s loss, Cody Garbrandt, called for a trilogy showdown after going 0-2 in back-to-back fights with his former teammate. Dillashaw looked confused when asked his reaction.
” I don’t even bother to look at it,” he stated. “That makes zero sense to me at all. He’s still in the UFC. He’s lost five of his last six fights. My goal is to fight for the world title. This is a difficult goal. It’s likely that he will have at least two losses before I return. It won’t even be worth my effort.”