TJ Dillashaw Credits Dominick Cruz for Blueprint in Beating Renan Barao

Written by Tom Ngo
May 29th, 2014

UFC TJ Dillashaw

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The enemy of my friend is my … in UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw’s (pictured) case, the enemy of my friend is who I mimicked to beat Renan Barao.

If you thought Dillashaw looked like a completely different fighter when he served up Saturday’s upset special over Barao at UFC 173, then you thought correctly. Dillashaw admitted he needed to do his best Dominick Cruz impersonation in order to dethrone the Brazilian.

“I tried telling Urijah [Faber] when I was cornering him the first time he fought Barao that he needed Dominick Cruz footwork to beat the champ,” Dillashaw revealed on “UFC Tonight.” “I thought that Cruz could beat Renan Barao if they were to fight. It’d be a tough fight, but if he was going to beat him, it was going to be because of his footwork.

“So by telling Urijah what I wanted him to do, I just kind of copycatted it and used that movement and that footwork to get out of the way and create my angles to keep myself elusive.”

Ironically, Cruz was stripped of his UFC bantamweight title after another injury forced him to pull out of February’s title unification bout against then-interim champ Barao. Barao was immediately promoted to the division’s outright champ.

Faber schooled Dillashaw to the MMA game many years ago by welcoming the wrestler to his famed Team Alpha Male squad in Sacramento. Faber has had a longstanding beef with Cruz.

Speaking of Faber, now that Dillashaw sits atop the throne in the same weight class “The California Kid” competes in, everyone wants to know if the student is down to fight the teacher.

Dillashaw said if it don’t make dollars then it don’t make sense. But if it does make dollars…

“It’s not like I am dying to fight Urijah,” Dillashaw said in closing. “I don’t want to go out and fight Urijah Faber. He is the one that brought me into the sport, he’s one of my best friends and we hang out every day. Obviously, we are both influenced by money, so let’s make it happen by getting us paid really well and having a smile on our face while we’re smacking each other.”

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