One year ago, if you had predicted CB Dollaway would be a win away from title contention as 2014 comes to a close, many would have scoffed.
After all, Dollaway was coming off a split decision loss to Tim Boestch (yes, it was very close), and had yet to score his impressive wins over Cezar Ferreira and Francis Carmont. Dollaway was demonstrating he was an evolving fighter, but he wasn’t sitting in the #10 ranking like he is now.
Of course, Dollaway is scheduled to fight Lyoto Machida tonight at UFC Fight Night 58, and although he’s the underdog heading into the bout, a win would be hee-uge. How huge? Well, as Dollaway recently told UFC.com:
“This is the most important fight of my life, for obvious reasons,” said Dollaway. “It’s my first main event and it’s against Lyoto Machida. He’s not going to know what to expect from me. I’m a better fighter today than I was in my last fight. I’m improving every day now that I’m healthy. If I can finish him, I think it has title implications.”
There are several guys in the hunt for a title shot ready now, including “Jacare” Souza, Yoel Romero and Anderson Silva. The champion Chris Weidman is set to face Vitor Belfort on February 28th.
So, if Dollaway can put away Machida, he’ll definitely jump up the ranks, but he’d likely need another win to lock up a title shot.
Dollaway was also asked about his much improved game, and once again, he praised his boxing coach Jose Benavidez.
“My boxing coach (Jose Benavidez) has really helped my overall game,” he said. “I always felt that my stand-up was always my weakest skill set, and everyone knew I would go in there and go for the takedown. Now I have confidence in my hands, I have confidence that I can win wherever the fight goes, and I don’t have to go for the takedown. I can fight on my feet and I can win on my feet. My jiu-jitsu game has gotten better too, which makes me an overall well-rounded fighter. I don’t feel like a fish out of water anymore in certain areas.”
It’s going to be an interesting fight. UFC FN 58 will go down in Barueri, Brazil and the card will be broadcast in the U.S. on FOX Sports 1.