TJ Dillashaw vs Dominick Cruz, UFC Fight Night, 17 January 2016
Fight of the Night
TJ Dillashaw vs Dominick Cruz is finally here. One of my most highly anticipated fights this year. Two kings of footwork and movement. Both winning their belts and establishing their names in MMA with awkward strikes and unexpected angles. Dominick Cruz, the one that paved the way, versus TJ Dillashaw, the one that learned and improved on.
This is the kind of fight that didn’t just capture my attention, but captured my entire consciousness from beginning to end. I might have even forgot to breath as my brain melted into the screen – that’s how grossly engrossed I became.
Both Dominick Cruz and TJ Dillashaw come from interesting stories of heartbreak. Dominick Cruz, the famous tale of an undisputed champion that, literally, no one could touch. Having injury after injury that kept him out of the cage. To the point where he was forced to surrender his Bantamweight Championship. And when he vacated his title, another injury occurred! The style of his fighting puts so much stress on his feet, knees, hip joints. It’s not a wonder that Dominick Cruz has so many issues. But having to sit on the side lines and not be able to do the one thing you love and live for. Not be able to work to pave the way and control your own future. That is truly a hard and difficult time.
TJ Dillashaw on the other hand. Enjoying a success story under the tutelage of Duane Bang Ludwig. He beats one of the most unbeatable fighters in the world, Renan Barao. He claims the UFC Bantamweight Title and defends it successfully against Renan again! Some may think that he’s the next Dominick Cruz. With his toe tapping canvas gliding movement. Mesmerizing his opponents into a hypnotic state and then attacking at angles they never ever see coming. TJ Dillashaw seemed to be the future of the Bantamweight division.
Or was he…Did his style only work against guys like Renan? Traditionally trained fighters that don’t adapt to changes and movement? After winning the belt, TJ was on top of the world. But this word quickly came crashing down on him. Behind the scenes he was going through some struggles with his mentor Urijah Faber and the team that brought him up, Team Alpha Male. To the majority of the fight world, it seemed like TJ and Duane were riding the waves of success. True martial artists who are reaping the rewards of their hard work and sacrifice.
I used to be one of these fans. Wanting and hoping to believe that TJ and Duane were exemplary figures of “anything is possible” if you work hard enough at it.
Recent interviews of Urijah Faber with Ariel Hawani and Duane Ludwig with The Fighter and The Kid may reveal otherwise. I will expound no further on this subject and allow you reader, to make your own decision.
Both Dominick and TJ have gone through their struggles on the road to this fight. It may add to an interesting backdrop, but I just care about one thing. The fight.
The fight between two of the supposedly fastest human beings in the division. Two fighters with the quickest and sly-est footwork. Who can out angle and out work the other? Who is going to fight faster, harder, tougher? Dammit can’t you wait to find out? Might even have to watch this one three times as I’m sure I will missing things the first two times. Enjoy!
TJ Dillashaw vs Dominick Cruz full fight video