Assuncao has been booked to face Moraes at the February 2nd event in a contest that should deliver the winner a title shot. After all, Assuncao has won four straight and nine out of his last ten. The only man to defeat him during that time is Dillashaw, who Assuncao also earned a decision win over in that stint.
Moraes, meanwhile, is riding a three-fight winning streak, which includes KO victories over Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera. The only fighter to defeat him since he arrived in the UFC is Mr. Assuncao, who did so via split decision, in his Octagon debut.
Well, this Saturday’s expected title shot eliminator comes not long after Dillashaw was taken out by flyweight champ, Henry Cejudo, at UFC Brooklyn. Following Cejudo’s win, he called for a bout with Dillashaw, at 135. So, while speaking with MMA Junkie recently, Assuncao had this to say about Dillashaw and the champ’s short term future:
“The champion needs to get his stuff together and defend his title,” Assuncao said. “Now they’re talking about a title defense against Cejudo, so that kind of complicates things a little bit. … I think T.J. should’ve stayed at his weight and done what he was supposed to do at 135. He went down to 125, and now I’m sure he regrets what happened. He should’ve stayed at his weight class and taken responsibility at his weight class.”
“Just like when I should’ve fought for the title before and Cody (Garbrandt) took my place, and it didn’t go well twice for him. In the back of my mind, I don’t want to be a hater, but it’s like, ‘See, that’s what you get.’ It should’ve been my turn. Same with T.J. That’s what you get when you should’ve defended your own title.”
There you go. Now, it’s going to be really interesting to see what the UFC does next. You would think, that if indeed, the promotion intends to ax the flyweight division, then Cejudo could be tapped for Dillashaw in a rematch at 135. If that’s not the plan, however, it would make sense for Cejudo to defend the belt at 125, while Dillashaw does the same against Moraes or Assuncao.
There’s no question, however, that both Moraes and Assuncao need to score a convincing / entertaining win this weekend, if they hope to lock down a fight with Dillashaw next.