Out of nowhere, TJ Dillashaw has an opponent. The returning Raphael Assunção? Urijah Faber? Renan Barao again because the UFC hates Brazilians? Nope. January 2016: TJ Dillashaw vs Dominick Cruz for the UFC Bantamweight Championship.
The man who dominated the division for years will be returning after over a year of lay off because he was dealing with yet another injury. Cruz sadly tore his ACL. Twice. While champion. With his last title defense being in October of 2011. The numerous injuries lead to his being stripped of the title. He returned last September with an overwhelming and dominant performance in defeating former title challenger Takeya Mizugaki. It was an amazing display under normal circumstances as he laid waste to the Japanese star, but it was a magnitude greater when considering that Cruz hadn’t fought in almost three years.
While Cruz was injured, Dillashaw would go on to dethrone Barao as champion and solidify as himself as the best of the division in defending his title twice. Cruz (correctly, in this reporter’s opinion – one which no one noticed until I did but now they pretend they did but they didn’t so don’t believe their lies) has been critical of Dillashaw, claiming the Team AlphaMale member used the style Cruz perfected to find success.
Again: intentional or not, Dillashaw has definitely adopted Cruz’s style – the style of the future, mind you.
This will further the Cruz vs. Team Alpha Male story vs Cruz and Alpha Male founder Faber have been rivals for years and Dillashaw is (publicly) Faber’s prized pupil and heir. TJ Dillashaw will fight Dominick Cruz on January 17th in Boston. The fight will air on Fox Sports One. We will cover it because: duh.