The UFC will host another champion- versus-champion fight during Saturday’s ESPN+ card – but there’s something else a lot of people are focusing on first.
That something has to do with one of the competitors. TJ Dillashaw has always seemed like a natural fit for the bantamweight division. So when he said he was going down in weight to challenge Henry Cejudo for the flyweight title, many people had one simple question – could he make the weight?
According to Dillashaw, he is on track. But in some pictures, he looks better than others. With the right lighting and the chance to strike a pose, Dillashaw looks lean and shredded. But in other photos, he’s looked a little malnourished. His opponent has also taken notice of this.
Henry said: “I think he looks like Pee-wee Herman if you ask me…I thought he’d have a little more bulk to him, but I guess not. He’s not looking so well. It looks like he needs a cup of water. He looks like a cross-country runner.”
With his normal weight class a full ten pounds above the flyweight limit, Dillashaw is cutting it close. Although he’s long said the cut is an easy thing to do, he typically walks around at about 150 pounds. That’s what he came into the cage at last time, when he finished friend-turned-foe and top title challenger Cody Garbrandt for the second time in their highly anticipated rematch.
Dillashaw was chasing a super fight with then-flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson, who lost his title soon after in a close decision to Cejudo, which was also a rematch. Cejudo immediately pounced on the opportunity to be a part of the super fight, wasting no time as he called out Dillashaw in his post-fight victory speech.
Dillashaw is making the unique choice to move down in weight to chase a second belt – going against the formula that’s bet set up before him. There have only been three simultaneous dual-weight champions in UFC history. When Conor McGregor challenged for the lightweight title, he did it after moving up from featherweight.
Despite being a heavyweight earlier in his career, Daniel Cormier was the light heavyweight champion when he moved up to battle Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight crown. Most recently at UFC 232, women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes moved up to challenge featherweight champion Cris Cyborg.
While some may say moving down in weight is a cowardly move, Dillashaw is putting in the work to make it happen. But according to him, he isn’t doing it just because he was a second title. That’s a byproduct of his main goal – to be considered the best fighter in the world.
Cejudo has said Dillashaw’s weight cut will be harder than he thinks, promising to use that to expose him. Fighters who cut more weight are usually less powerful and more susceptible to damage.
Could Dillashaw’s dangerous drop be his undoing? Or will he become the fourth person to ever hold two UFC titles simultaneously?