TJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz aren’t even scheduled to fight yet, but a ‘this is getting good’ backstory is quickly developing for their potential, all-star bout.
Following Dillashaw’s jaw dropping, stoppage win over Renan Barao at UFC on FOX 16, all the talk, or a good sized portion of it, has been regarding a fight between the bantamweight champ and Cruz. The latter is the former champ and was never defeated for the belt, rather, Cruz was stripped of the title after having to undergo two ACL surgeries.
Dillashaw and Cruz have already sent some verbal shots each other’s way, but recently, the champ’s striking coach, Duane Ludwig, also got into it. While appearing on “The MMA Hour”, Ludwig argued that Dillashaw could stop Cruz inside of two rounds, since there’s “something very specific” he’s noticed “The Dominator” does. Or in other words, a massive hole in his game, which Ludwig wouldn’t detail.
Well, Cruz was apparently brought up to speed on what Ludwig said while appearing on the same show, and here is some of what he had to say (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“It doesn’t mean anything,” Cruz said. “Because Duane Ludwig is the same guy who told (Joseph) Benavidez, ‘just keep going forward on Demetrious Johnson. He doesn’t sit down on his punches, he can’t knock you out.’
“What happened to Benavidez? He got knocked out, and that’s because Duane Ludwig told him ‘don’t worry about Demetrious Johnson knocking you out, just go forward, he doesn’t hit hard.’ Duane Ludwig could learn something from me. I could be Duane Ludwig’s coach. Straight up. And so could (Alliance MMA head trainer) Eric del Fierro.”
See? This is getting really good no? There’s no question that Cruz is a master when it comes to his footwork and mobility, and clearly his striking game is amongst the best at 135. Dillashaw is no slouch in that department either, thanks in big part, to the guidance of Ludwig.
For now, it remains to be seen if Dillashaw-Cruz does in fact get booked next. The latter has said he likely won’t return to the cage until early 2016.