Leading up to UFC Brooklyn, T.J. Dillashaw has talked about putting an end to the promotion’s flyweight division, and it looks like his rhetoric hasn’t sat too well with former teammate, Joseph Benavidez.
Dillashaw is moving down to 125 tomorrow night to face flyweight champ Henry Cejudo, and many believe that if he wins, the UFC will shutter the weight class. The reason being that there’s been talk about the UFC possibly doing so for months.
Well, as a result, Dillashaw has fielded plenty of questions about the future of the flyweight division, in part, because at one point, Dillashaw was advocating for a fighter’s union. But, these days, Dillashaw is talking about how fighting is a selfish sport, and that he’s focused on his own legacy. Further, the bantamweight champ has said he doesn’t really care what happens to the 125 weight class. In addition, back in December, Dillashaw said he was going to “kill” the flyweight division.
Of course, a longstanding member of that division is Benavidez, who has trained extensively with Dillashaw over the years. Recently the flyweight contender was asked about the state of his friendship, while taking to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter. Here’s some of what he had to say (quotes via Bloody Elbow):
“Eh… I mean, we were really good friends and really close,” Benavidez said. “I mean, things are a little compromised now. It’s easy to say you’re a friend and this guy’s a friend and this guy is a friend of mine, but it’s more like, to act like a friend. You know what I mean? Kinda like actions and words and stuff like that. I wouldn’t say he acts like the best friend, but we have a history and we go back. And there is friends that are just like, ‘Alright, well…’ Get annoyed by each other for a while. So, I guess he was never a good friend, but we were teammates and we’ve gone through a ton together. So, I think that brings you close.
“But other than that? I think some of the stuff he said, like, about the division and stuff? That’s when I was kinda, like, questioning it. Like, that’s cool, you’re really going down and doing something for yourself by getting two belts. That’s amazing. TJ has an amazing drive and he’s where he’s at because of that drive. But you also have friends – me and other people included – in the division you’re saying you want to shut down. So that was more when I started to question it.”
So, when you consider that Benavidez isn’t a big 125’er, and that 135 probably isn’t a really viable option for him, these comments shouldn’t come as a surprise. Is there a chance that Dillashaw’s been playing the heel role here though? And that if he does beat Cejudo Saturday he’ll call on the UFC to keep the division? Maybe.
Benavidez, meanwhile, is booked to fight Dustin Ortiz tomorrow at UFC Brooklyn.