This Saturday, August 30, 2014, TJ Dillashaw is set to do battle, in a rematch with Renan Barao for the bantamweight title at UFC 177 in Sacramento, CA.
This fight will be Dillashaw’s first defense of the title he stripped from Barao only a few months earlier in May.
Before earning the belt in a one sided affair against the former champion Barao, Dillashaw was nothing more then a young up and comer out of Team Alpha Male, Urijah Fabers camp in northern California, that seems to be a breeding ground for small, scrappy fighters.
After losing to John Dodson in the Ulitmate Fighter 14 finale, Dillashaw won four fights in a row before being derailed in a controversial loss to Raphael Assuncao, in Brazil, Assuncao’s home land.
Soon after that loss Dillashaw would go on to dominate Mike Easton and earn himself in a title shot in a division that had been wiped clean by Barao.
Many people, including the odds makers, and myself believed it was to much to soon for Dillashaw but at UFC 173, he proved that no man or amount of money bet, was going to stop him from wearing the gold around his waste, earning a TKO victory in the fifth round of what was one sided affair for Dillashaw.
But now That Dillashaw has the championship belt he must defend it to really be considered the champion.
Built to dominate opponents at Team Alpha Male, where Dillashaw trains, he has had championship pedigree since his collegiate wrestling years.
Though the pieces to the puzzle were always there it wasn’t until someone came along and helped put all those pieces together, that Dillashaw began to look more like a championship fighter.
That person is veteran Muay Thai kick boxer and mixed martial arts fighter, Duane Ludwig.
Ludwig and Dillashaw seemed to be a matched made in heaven. A cerebral teacher always looking for the advantage, working with a passionate and dedicated student created chemistry unlike any other between coach and fighter.
With Ludwig in his corner and Team Alpha Male pushing him like no other camp will, Dillashaw may be in the perfect position to stay champion for a long time.
With all that being said he must still go out this Saturday and again defeat a man who has only lost once, which was against Dillashaw, in the past nine years.
Dillashaw will get the most dangerous, well-prepared, motivated version of Renan Barao at UFC 177.
If Dillawshaw is able to defeat Barao it will cement his place at the top of the division and also put a target on his back bigger then he could ever imagine.
All the elite fighters will be coming after him including some of his own training partners who compete in the same weight class.
Dillashaw will have to learn how to handle all the trash talk from fighters who want a piece of him, how to avoid all the parties, alcohol and women that will be thrown at him and how to stay focused when everyone wants his attention.
The pieces have been put together and as long as Dillashaw can keep a level head and eyes forward, the sky is the limit.
With tenacious wrestling, deceptively strong hands, and the quickness of a young Dominck Cruz, Dillashaw has all the tools to be champion for a long time and the scary part of it all, is he’s still getting better.