With just a little over a month to go until Dominick Cruz defends his UFC bantamweight championship against undefeated challenger Cody Garbrandt, the champion reveals why this was the fight that made most business sense versus a potential rematch with TJ Dillashaw.
It was a two-horse race to see who would get the next crack at Cruz’s 135lb strap, but ultimately the UFC went for the fresher match up as Garbrandt will get his shot at the belt when the two clash in the co-main event of UFC 207 on Friday December 30th in Las Vegas.
“The new owners of the UFC, they’re a management company, they deal with high, elite-level stars, and if you really look at the background of the people who just spent $4.2 billion on the UFC, they’re going to make specific decisions according to making the business better,” Cruz told MMA Junkie.
“Dillashaw, in my opinion, doesn’t make the business better. Cody, with the emotional wreck that he is, people can grasp to that because they see the emotion in him, they see what he’s thinking, they see what he’s feeling. He lets it all out. Dillashaw is fake. Everything Dillashaw does is a lie. He can’t let his true self out.”
Cruz looks back at the first interview he did with Dillashaw in the lead up to their fight at UFC Fight Night 81 at the start of the year as a turning point in the former champions career where he appears to be more vocal than ever before.
He says: “You saw it in our first fight, in our first interview, he holds back his emotion. Now, after I punked him, and then I beat him and took away his interim title and made him realize he never was the champion, he started talking. You’re hearing more talking out of TJ Dillashaw right now than you ever heard not only when he was the interim champion, but ever in his entire career.
“You’re hearing more of Dillashaw now. I helped Dillashaw. I made Dillashaw more relevant. I made Dillashaw have a voice and I taught Dillashaw how to come out of his own shell. He can hate me for that all he wants, but this guy is talking more than ever. That being said, he’s doing that after he lost the opportunity by not letting himself out in the first place.”
Prior to the Cruz vs. Garbrandt fight being official, Dillashaw was willing to offer Cruz $100,000 to fight him. Cruz says this was a huge mistake, which could’ve had a detrimental impact on the future of the division’s earning potential.
“Instead of going with getting the most amount of money for each fight, he’s willing to offer his own $100,000 to fight me? You know what that would do to the landscape of the 135lb division? It would hurt it,” he continued. “It wouldn’t build it. Champions are supposed to build the division, not break it down and take money from it.
“That’s what TJ Dillashaw’s trying to do. He’s trying to break down the 135lb division by offering up his own money to get a fight. Why would I ever do that? I’m a professional athlete and they’re going to pay me three times what you’re offering me.
“Who cares what you’re even offering me? And who cares what you think? This is about being a professional, showing up, doing the job according to who they put in front of me. That person is Cody Garbrandt.
“I don’t run this organization. Nobody does except for the head execs who are worth $4.2 billion. You think they’re going to let somebody else chose how this thing goes? Absolutely not.”