TJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz take different approaches when they step into the octagon.
Dillashaw, the reigning UFC bantamweight champion, isn’t afraid of coming out on the attack, looking for a quick decision. Cruz, on the other hand, plays a more defensive style and dances around a bit, waiting for his opponent to make a mistake and then punish it.
Cruz’s fights usually last a bit longer, too. Just two of his last 10 bouts went two rounds or fewer, while six of Dillashaw’s 13 career fights have gone less than three rounds.
Dillashaw believes if his Jan. 17 fight against Cruz in UFC Fight Night Boston at TD Garden is a quick one, he’ll be the one celebrating.
“It might be a short fight, but the only way it’s going to be short is if I finish it,” Dillashaw told NESN.com on Thursday. “Cruz isn’t a guy who’s coming out to finish fights, he’s coming out to get a decision and run around. He’s not the most entertaining fighter. I think he had his first finish, and it was against (Takeya Mizugaki) in his last fight. That’s not his style.
“If the fight’s getting finished, it’s definitely by me. I’ll be victorious that night.”
There has been plenty of trash talk between the fighters in the months leading up to this showdown. One of the narratives from Cruz’s side is that Dillashaw has mimicked his style, which he discussed during a Wednesday interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” morning show.
Dillashaw believes that claim is ridiculous.
“It’s kind of funny because — did he invent fighting?” he said. “I don’t think he invented movement, or a jab or a takedown. Those are all things I mix together and do really well. He likes to ride on my coattails and say I did it because of him.”
A case could be made that Cruz will be the best opponent Dillashaw has faced in his UFC career. Cruz was the bantamweight champ and successfully defended his title before having it stripped from him in 2014 when he was unable to fight because of injuries.
But Dillashaw knows what it’s like to defend his title. He has done it twice, in fact, and that experience will help him in his next title fight against Cruz.
“You definitely learn (how to prepare) the night of the fight, but the pressure building up to it, doing all the media, talking about the fight,” Dillashaw said. “You just get more and more used to it. It just comes with the territory, and you have fun with it.”
Thumbnail photo via Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports Images