Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw appeared recently on Submission Radio and said flatly that Urijah Faber does not deserve a title shot at Dominick Cruz, who defeated Dillashaw last month. T.J.’s remarks are all the more pointed as Faber was his mentor as head of Team Alpha Male.
Dillashaw recently left the Sacramento-based team to train with Duane ‘Bang’ Ludwig in Colorado, amidst notable acrimony.
“No, he doesn’t deserve it,” said Dillashaw. “You know, I mean he’s got a name behind him, but I mean his last performances…he’s nowhere near he should deserve a title fight. I mean, just going off because they had old beef and Urijah’s got a name? Like, that doesn’t make sense. I’m the number one contender, I felt I won the fight, a lot of people do feel I won the fight, it was razor close and I think I’m the only UFC champion to lose his belt to a split decision.
“I don’t feel like Urijah’s done enough to get that fight. I mean, obviously he’s going to talk enough and talk his way and try and get into that fight, but I don’t think he deserves it off his performances and they way’s he’s looked. And the guy’s a dinosaur, man. He hasn’t been looking very good. I feel like he’s been going downhill.”
“I mean he’s good, don’t get me wrong, Urijah’s awesome, man and I have a lot of respect for the guy, but I just don’t think he’s been looking as good as he used to. I feel like he’s slowing down. I mean, he’s not dominating guys. I mean, he had a tough fight against Francisco Rivera until he poked him in the eye. He didn’t look very good against Bruce Leeroy until he choked him. You know, he just beat the number 13th seed in a very close fight and almost gassed out in the process. I just don’t think he’s looked as dominant as he has in the past. You know, I feel like he was a better fighter four years ago. And it’s 37 years old. I mean, that’s old, man. I mean, I don’t want to be fighting when I’m 37 years old.”
Dillashaw also discussed the split with Team Alpha Male.
“I was actually forced out of the gym, because I told them I was going to do my next camp out in Colorado,” he said. “It wasn’t a choice that I made. I actually…It’s real unfortunate that Urijah has been willing to give up our friendship over a coach, you know, someone that he doesn’t get along with. He doesn’t get along with someone, he doesn’t get along with Duane Ludwig, so he’s willing to get rid of mine and his friendship due to that, which is pretty crazy to me. I didn’t think he’d be that kind of person.
“And yeah, it is frustrating to see me happen to be the heel in the media’s eye because of me going and training with a coach that I’ve been training with for the last three years and really believe in, and just because Urijah doesn’t get along with him, I’m the bad guy. Like, I’m forced into this situation now. I’m the bad guy, and media’s put it that way and is spinning it that way and everyone’s talking s*** on it. So it makes it a little tough.”
So would TJ change anything, if he could go back in time?
“Yeah,” he said. “I mean the only thing different that I would have done is not go on The Ultimate Fighter (laughs). Like, after my fight against Barao, I just fought – like the week later, Urijah is already out there, like while I was fighting, coaching the ultimate fighter. He asked me if I could come out and help him, and I was like, you know what, look, I’ve been out in Denver, training for this last fight, I need to go show my loyalty to the team, I’m going to go out there and help out, do some coaching.
“I wanted to go on vacation. You know, I wanted to go to Hawaii and hang out with my wife, but I went out to help this guy out and help coach his team and it kind of backfired on me. And Conor [McGregor] knew that I had the situation, that I was going up to Colorado – which is actually kind of crazy that he even knew about all this. I feel like someone was in his ear to start all this drama – and it worked out perfect for the UFC. And ultimately, it does suck that people are getting the wrong impression of the whole situation, but ultimately it does cause attention. You know, I gotta look at the positives from it. Even if it’s bad attention, I’m still getting a lot more attention on my fights and I guess my training camp, and you know, it’s bringing eyes my way, even if it’s not the full story.”
The drama continues with TAM fighters Joseph Benavidez and Lance Palmer wanting to go to Colorado, and Cody Garbrandt publicly voicing the opposite sentiment.
“It’s also good for everyone else to see that the story is not how they believe it to be,” said T.J. “You know, Joseph and Lance are coming out because we’re still boys and they know how good the training is with Duane. They believe in Duane as well, and more guys would do so if there wasn’t so much backlash.”
“It’s funny. When I first had this situation come to me and Muscle Pharm talk about starting the gym and having all the coaches under one roof and making a great situation for training camps, you know, the first one to think about coming out with me was Cody ‘No Love’. He was texting with Leister Bowling, talking about how he was going to move out there and thinks how training up there is going to be better and he’s tired of not having a coach in Sacramento. I have multiple text messages with Cody, talking about coming out to Colorado and how he was going to come out there – and so does our wrestling coach, Leister Bowling, which is kind of like the head coach on the team.
“You know, he was talking with Cody and Cody was telling him how he wanted to come out there and start being a part of the team and how he wanted to move out there. And then all of a sudden there’s all this backlash on me going out there and there’s all this drama in the media. So now Cody is like ‘no I would never go out there and train with those f***ing guys, those guys are the enemies’. You know, he’s just so young and easily influenced by the media and Urijah that he’s not telling the truth and not being truthful about what’s going on.”
“He was the first one, when I was going to go out there, he was the first one wanting to come with me, and now he’s talking s*** on Lance and Joe for doing it because they believe in the training, and now they’re getting backlash for it because…it’s just so blown out of proportion bulls***, man.”
Dillashaw noted when asked he went into the Cruz fight with injuries, but said they did not effect his performance.
“I have a fractured hand and foot right now that I’m letting heal up,” said Dillashaw. “I re-injured an old injury in my hand. I guess I didn’t know I had a fractured hand, but re-injured it two weeks before the fight and then re-injured it and hurt it even worse in the fight. And then I broke my foot – they’re both fractures, they’re both small – and then fractured my foot in the fight as well.”
“I didn’t even know [I was injured]. After the fight, I didn’t even want to go to the doctor to get checked out. I knew it hurt, but [I thought] it just was, you know, maybe a deep bone bruise or something and it didn’t affect me. I didn’t feel it while I was fighting.”
“Going through this last fight camp with Dominick, you know, I felt like I tried to be the more respectful guy. I didn’t want to sit down and talk a bunch of s*** and make this the WWE, I wanted to leave all my s*** talking inside the cage and just prove that I was the better fighter. I feel like after I would’ve won that fight it would have paid off. It would have shown that you don’t have to be the big s*** talker to get things done and be the fan favorite. But that’s what people like.
“The Conor McGregor era is real and people do like all that. I was just trying to be different, you know. I was trying to be the guy that was going to be a little bit more level-headed, and just kind of, like I said, the martial artist. But I’m almost going to have to be the heel now it seems like, just [because] that’s the way people want it and that’s just the line I’ve been given. People that think I’m traiting on my team by staying loyal to my coach, which, people just don’t understand this stuff. And so it’s a little…it’s tough. Yeah, it’s definitely tough when you see it going one way, and if I would have won that fight I think it would have been a little bit different. And now that I didn’t, it kind of backfires on you.”
“I do think that out of all the rematches [that] are going to happen for a belt, I think mine’s the most deserving. Especially, not only the fact of the fight and how it went down and how close it was, but also what I had to do when I won the belt. You know, I absolutely obliterated and dominated [Renan] Barao and they gave a rematch. You know, he missed weight, I had to take a fight on 24 hours’ notice – which was crazy. That was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been – and I fought Joe Soto, and then I still had to give Barao a rematch after that. So I gave him more than enough chances to get that rematch, and I feel like not only was the fight close, but I feel like they kind of owe it to me almost.”