TJ Dillashaw Makes His Pick For Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling

T.J. DillashawUFC bantamweight TJ Dillashaw has made a prediction regarding the bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling. The champion Yan, will look to defend his title for the first time against the number one contender Sterling, at UFC 259 on March 6th. Dillashaw is fresh off of a two year USDA suspension for […]

T.J. Dillashaw

UFC bantamweight TJ Dillashaw has made a prediction regarding the bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.

The champion Yan, will look to defend his title for the first time against the number one contender Sterling, at UFC 259 on March 6th.

Dillashaw is fresh off of a two year USDA suspension for EPO in his last fight and has been on record as saying that he wants an immediate title shot against whoever wins the title fight.

In an interview on the Real Quick with Mike Swick podcast, Dillashaw gives his breakdown of the title fight. (H/T MMAJunkie.com)

“I think it’s a tough fight for Yan because of the style of the fighter,” Dillashaw said. “I think Yan’s the better, (more) well-rounded fighter. He’s got more of the skills and more aspects of fighting. But Sterling’s wrestling is very aggressive.”

“(Sterling’s) striking is real uncomfortable. He doesn’t really set anything up – he just kind of bombs kicks non-stop, kind of got that distance. But then he can grab a hold of you. He’s got great wrestling and his jiu-jitsu is amazing, too. I watched him take (Cory) Sandhagen out in 45 seconds. We watched him do a lot of great grappling in some of his fights. So I think it’ll be a tough fight because I do think Yan, maybe his biggest weakness is his wrestling.”

While Dillashaw does see how both fighters could win, he eventually says that he is leaning toward Yan as the victor.

“He lost in the past to a guy that’s in Bellator just by getting outwrestled, so we’ll see the gains he’s made in his MMA wrestling,” Dillashaw said of Yan. “I would still probably put my money on Yan just because he’s a little more well-rounded, structurally and on the feet. I think he’ll be able to keep the distance good enough. But you can’t underestimate a tough-nosed wrestler. So he can’t be counting his chickens before they hatch because he’s trying to call me out, but he’s got to get past Sterling and stay on top.”

Do you agree with TJ Dillashaw and his prediction for the Petr Yan/Aljamain Sterling fight?

Dillashaw Believes Petr Yan Beats Aljamain Sterling At UFC 259

TJ Dillashaw believes Petr Yan will beat Aljamain Sterling to defend his bantamweight title for the first time at UFC 259. In the first of three title fights on the card, Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling are finally set to fight. It’s a very intrig…

TJ Dillashaw believes Petr Yan will beat Aljamain Sterling to defend his bantamweight title for the first time at UFC 259. In the first of three title fights on the card, Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling are finally set to fight. It’s a very intriguing bout with many thinking Sterling is the better grappler while […]

TJ Dillashaw Continues To Call For Immediate Title Shot In Return From Suspension

TJ Dillashaw is certain his return fight will be for UFC gold. Former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw is eligible to fight again after his two-year USADA suspension. When his suspension was over, many were wondering who he’d fight. He could ge…

TJ Dillashaw is certain his return fight will be for UFC gold. Former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw is eligible to fight again after his two-year USADA suspension. When his suspension was over, many were wondering who he’d fight. He could get a title shot or perhaps face someone like Urijah Faber in a perfect return […]

TJ Dillashaw Wants Immediate Title Shot On UFC Return

TJ DillashawFormer UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw is hoping for an immediate title shot when he returns to fighting later this year. Dillashaw has just finished serving a two-year drug suspension stemming from a positive test for EPO following his failed flyweight title bid against Henry Cejudo in January 2019. Now he’s served his ban, Dillashaw […]

TJ Dillashaw

Former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw is hoping for an immediate title shot when he returns to fighting later this year.

Dillashaw has just finished serving a two-year drug suspension stemming from a positive test for EPO following his failed flyweight title bid against Henry Cejudo in January 2019.

Now he’s served his ban, Dillashaw is ready to get straight back into big fights and speculation has been building about who he will face next.

“I’m ready to go straight for the belt, if that’s the opportunity that comes at me because I know Yan wants it.” Dillashaw told Mike Swick on the “Real Quick with Mike Swick” podcast. “He’s already been vocally talking about it and we’ll see what happens on March 6 when he fights Sterling. He’s got a tough test ahead of him, but that’s the fight he wants. I didn’t leave this sport by losing my belt. He knows there’s a lot of speculation if he’s the real champ because he hasn’t beaten the champion to get that belt, so he wants it. As well as that, I’m the biggest draw for him right now to try to fight.”

Dillashaw is hoping the fact he has been on the side-lines for so long will increase his chances of getting a immediate crack at current 135lb champ Petr Yan.

“Maybe he’s thinking me coming back for my first fight might be the best time to catch me as well, too. To try and catch me slipping. But I mean, that’s what I want. The ultimate goal for me is to be the champion. The greatest things come to you when you’re champion, the goal is to be champion, so why not get out there and get it done.”

If a title shot doesn’t come straight away Dillashaw says he’s expressed a willingness to fight anyone in the top five.

“I’m in a good situation,” Dillashaw said. “I think everyone in the top five has called me out. I want to come back and fight the best. I’m 35 years old now, I’ve got a lot of things in life going on, so I want to come back and prove that I’m the best bantamweight of all time, and I want to come back and fight the best. If that’s for the belt right away then so be it. If that’s fighting someone else in the top five, awesome.

“Every person that’s called me out, I’ve said yes to the UFC, so that’s just showing them that I’m eager to get back in there. So it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s someone that’s at the top of the game, because I’m gonna climb up and get that belt back fast.” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)

Who do you think TJ Dillashaw should fight?

Cody Garbrandt Reflects On TJ Dillashaw Losses, Promises Trilogy

Cody Garbrandt has looked back on his back-to-back losses to TJ Dillashaw. At UFC 217, Garbrandt suffered a second-round TKO loss to Dillashaw to lose his bantamweight title. They then had a rematch at UFC 227, with Dillashaw scoring a first-round TKO …

Cody Garbrandt has looked back on his back-to-back losses to TJ Dillashaw. At UFC 217, Garbrandt suffered a second-round TKO loss to Dillashaw to lose his bantamweight title. They then had a rematch at UFC 227, with Dillashaw scoring a first-round TKO win to defend his belt over Garbrandt. The losses were no doubt disappointing […]

5 Times Former Teammates Faced Off Prior To UFC 258

rankingsAt the top level of MMA, many of the best and most popular athletes find themselves training out of large gyms with access to some of the best coaches available. Given the drive to be the best and the necessity to train with partners of the same size and skill level it is not uncommon […]

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At the top level of MMA, many of the best and most popular athletes find themselves training out of large gyms with access to some of the best coaches available.

Given the drive to be the best and the necessity to train with partners of the same size and skill level it is not uncommon for training partners to eventually find themselves standing across the octagon from one another at some stage of their careers.

This has been one of the major storylines heading into UFC 258 where the Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will take on former training partner and friend Gilbert Burns to defend his title.

These two top-ranking Welterweights were training partners as recently as 2019, however, with Burns putting together a string of high-profile wins in 2020 and Usman continuing to defend his title, a clash between the two was bound to occur.

In this situation, the champion opted to take leave from his regular home of Sanford MMA and seek training under the guidance of the highly respected coach Trevor Whittman.

While the two of these fighters have remained mostly respectful of one another, and a shift in camp has made the process simpler, this has not always been the case for other fighters.

Here are five times that training partners have met inside the UFC octagon.

Jones vs Evans

Jon Jones faces off against teammate Rashad Evans before UFC 145.
Image via UFC.com

In 2011 Jackson Wink MMA was home to two of the top Light-heavyweights in the world in the form of Rashad Evans and Jon Jones. With both these athletes piecing together multiple winning streaks against other well-known opposition title implications were in the works for both fighters, and first, it seemed as though Evans would take a shot at regaining the title he once held. These plans were cut short, however, as injury would strike leaving Evans sidelined and making way for Jones to take a shot at the title against the champion Shogun Rua.

Jones went on to claim the title with a stunning third-round TKO over the champion after dominating the action for the duration of the fight. After claiming the title Jones was adamant at first that he would not fight with his teammate Evans, however, as time went on and after defending his title Jones became open to the idea much to the disappointment of Evans.

Evans chose to leave his longtime home at Jackson Wink MMA vowing never to train with coach Greg Jackson again claiming that he had bought on the situation by allowing Jones to come onboard to their team against his wishes. After leaving, Evans would continue to help found the Blackzilians, a team in Florida that would produce some of the top talents in the organization.

The two faced off in the main event of UFC 145 and Jones was able to dominate Evans receiving a unanimous decision victory to defend his title.

Lawler vs Woodley

Robbie Lawler touches gloves with former teammate Tyron Woodley at UFC 201.
Image via UFC.com

American Top Team in Florida has been at the pinnacle of MMA for the longest time producing many champions and top tier fighters for the UFC. In 2016 the gym was home to the Welterweight champion Robbie Lawler who had just defended his title twice in bouts against Rory McDonald and Carlos Condit. After taking out this opposition a new challenger emerged, this time in the form of his training partner Tyron Woodley.

At this point in his career, Woodley had bounced back from a loss to McDonald with back-to-back wins over Dong Hyun Kim and Kelvin Gastelum to cement himself as the number one contender.

Given the situation with the pair being at the same gym and choosing to remain at the same gym, the coaching staff were split in half and both fighters continued to train under the American Top Team banner for their fight.

When it came to fight night, Woodley was able to claim the welterweight title with a stunning knockout victory over his former training partner in the first round.

Following this loss, Lawler would make the move away from American Top Team to train at Hard Knocks 365 under Henri Hoof, the gym that would eventually become Sanford MMA.

Woodley vs Covington

Colby Covington faces off with former teammate Tyron Woodley ahead of their fight night main event.
Screengrab via UFC (YouTube)

Another pair of teammates from American Top Team, Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington would not only produce one of the best examples of former teammates facing off, but the two would also produce one of the most heated rivalries in the sport. Once Woodley claimed the title by defeating Robbie Lawler, Covington was still an up and comer working his way towards title implications. This did not take long, however, as by the end of 2017 Covington had his sites set on Woodley and an interim title fight in the wings.

In 2018 Covington would go on to claim the interim title by defeating Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 225, however, after the UFC was unable to schedule a bout between the two former training partners, Covington would be stripped of his title without having the chance to challenge Woodley.

In the meantime, while the rivalry heated up Woodley would have mixed results boasting multiple successful title defenses against the likes of Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia, and Darren Till, before being bested by Kamaru Usman.

Covington, however, would return to face Lawler and dominate him setting himself up for that long-awaited title shot against the now champion Kamaru Usman.

While it may have been much later than most expected, following losses for both fighters, Covington to Usman in his title shot, and Woodley to up and coming title contender Gilbert Burns, Woodley and Covington would finally meet in the octagon.

In this fight, Covington did what many had expected and dominated the former champion managing to get a TKO in the fifth round after Woodley suffered a rib injury.

Garbrandt vs Dillashaw

TJ Dillashaw knocks down former teammate Cody Garbrandt.
August 4, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cody Garbrandt falls after being hit by TJ Dillashaw during UFC 227 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Team Alpha Male has produced some of the best Bantamweight fighters that the UFC has ever seen and been home to multiple champions including both TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt.

After losing his title to Dominick Cruz in 2016, TJ Dillashaw had opened an opportunity for his former training partner Cody Garbrandt who at the time was undefeated and a top contender in the division to challenge Cruz for the title. In this matchup, Garbrandt showed incredible striking skill and managed to defeat Cruz by unanimous decision to claim the title.

Following this TJ put together back-to-back victories within 2016 to set himself up for a title shot once again and now it would be to face his former teammate in a heated grudge match that had been in the works since Dillashaw’s departure from the gym.

After six years at Team Alpha Male, Dillawshaw would make the move to Colorado to train with former Alpha Male coach Duane Ludwig as well as training at Team Elevation. This move wasn’t taken lightly by Garbrandt or gym owner Uriah Faber who predicted that with this move a matchup between top prospects would be on the horizon.

The fight did come to fruition in 2017 when the pair faced off as the co-main event of UFC 217. This was a short fight, however, it was action-packed so despite being finished in the second round, the UFC chose to give Garbrandt a rematch to try and claim back the title he had just lost to Dillashaw.

In the rematch, however, the result was the same but the duration was shorter with Dillashaw finding the knockout shot in the first round to defend his title and close out the rivalry between the two former teammates.

Ortiz vs Liddell

Chuck Liddell faces off with Tito Ortiz ahead of their trilogy fight.
Sep 14, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Fight promoter Oscar De La Hoya (center) gets in between Chuck Liddell (left) and Tito Ortiz while promoting their upcoming MMA bout at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Arguably the most iconic rivalry in the sport, before Title Ortiz and Chuck Liddell met inside the octagon the pair were avid training partners. Being one of the earliest Light-heavyweight champions in the UFC Tito Ortiz was known for his impressive grappling ability that had allowed him to reach the pinnacle of the sport at the time. Ortiz was however training his striking to be on par with the rest of his skills and part of that training was done with up and coming UFC fighter Chuck Liddell.

These two athletes would corner each other in the ring, train together, and ultimately wind up in a fierce rivalry with the UFC title on the line.

After Ortiz had lost the belt to Randy Couture, Liddell had the perfect opportunity to fight for the title and in doing so he claimed the gold and set in motion a grudge match between himself and his former training partner.

In this meeting Liddell emerged victorious winning via KO in the second round, however, the rivalry didn’t end there and the two wound up fighting once again two years later in 2006.

The second matchup went similar to the first with Liddell winning by TKO in round three. While it looked like the rivalry was over this was far from the truth and 12 years later the pair would face off for the third and final time.

In 2018 Golden Boy MMA held the event Liddell vs. Ortiz: War’s End which would see the two veterans fight one another years after their prime. This would be the only time Ortiz would taste victory against Liddell winning by KO in the first round.

This trilogy match would be Liddell’s final MMA fight and Ortiz’s second last, however, Ortiz has not officially hung up the gloves as of yet.