It’s been a good run for T.J. Dillashaw. The Team Alpha Male fighter became engaged to his high school sweetheart. He’s a key member of one of the best teams in MMA.
And now he can call himself UFC champion.
Dillashaw dominated Renan Barao to win the bantamweight title Saturday night at UFC 173. He stopped a nine-year unbeaten streak for Barao, and did so in impressive fashion.
“I just have a smile on my face that is going to be there for a long time,” said Dillashaw, during the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show.
Dillashaw (10-2), an alum of The Ultimate Fighter, landed over 200 strikes against Barao, a fighter who many were touting as the best in the world regardless of weight. He was quickly asked about his next opponent, including a potential fight with teammate Urijah Faber.
“We have UFC fights every day in the gym,” Dillashaw said.
Another possible future opponent, former champion Dominick Cruz, is someone Dillashaw has looked up to in the sport and a person he would welcome as a foe.
“Hopefully, he can make a comeback,” Dillashaw said. “He was a great champion. He was a champion when I first started fighting that I looked up to and it would be an honor to fight that guy.”
Despite the seemingly flawless performance, Dillashaw did critique himself, saying, “I could have finished that choke (earlier in the fight). I didn’t give it my all, I guess, and I didn’t want to burn myself out. I probably could have finished it a lot sooner.”
Front-Page Photo Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie