T.J. Dillashaw shocked the mixed martial arts (MMA) world -- Chris Weidman style -- this past weekend (May 24, 2014) at UFC 173, defeating Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight Champion Renan Baro via fifth round technical knockout in Las Vegas, Nevada.
See video highlights of his title-winning performance here.
But, unlike Weidman's two wins over former UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 162 and then UFC 168, Dillashaw's victory over Barao didn't come with an unfortunate and unfair asterisk such as "goofing off" or a "shattered shin."
Dillashaw simply outshined and outclassed Barao for 4.5 rounds before delivering the crushing blow in the final frame.
Three days removed from the biggest win of his young MMA career, "The Viper" talked about his huge upset, revealing the turning point in the fight where he knew he had broken the prestigious Brazilian talent.
From his conversation on "The MMA Hour:"
"After that first round, I just got a huge rush going into the corner and I was like, 'Alright, I just got to keep doing that.' I don't think I knew I had him until the end of the second round. I saw it it in his eyes. I knew that I was going to be too much for him and that I was too fast and that I was going to be able to pick him apart."
The championship victory not only marked the first-ever UFC title for Dillashaw and Team Alpha Male, but also the first for Duane Ludwig as head coach. And it will likely be his last because "Bang" is now out as head coach of the Sacramento, Calif.,-based fight camp.
Even though Dillashaw admits Ludwig is the best coach he's ever had, he isn't bolting to Colorado to train full time with the psychedelic Muay Thai mind, planning to stay with the team that got him to where he is today.
"No, Alpha Male has the best team in the world. Not only do I have the best sparring partners, but they care about me and we care about each other. When you have that connection its so easy to help each other out and be there for each other. I have a whole team of coaches. Even though Duane is the best coach I've ever worked with, you can't ever get a team like team Alpha Male and the bond we have. So, I'm staying with they guys that helped get to where I am. I'm going to do some cross training with Duane for my camps."
Can't knock loyalty.
But, it won't necessarily signal the end for the Ludwig-Dillashaw winning combination, as T.J. still plans to train with the former kick-boxer when time allows. For now, Dillashaw plans to enjoy his win before looking toward his next challenge, which according to him, will likely be a rematch against Rafael Assuncao, the last man to defeat him.
Sorry, Barao, but you were simply "dominated" in the fight and an instant rematch isn't warranted, according to the new champ. And when asked the inevitable question if he would lever take on his mentor, Urijah Faber, in a future 135-pound showdown, Dillashaw offered up a surprising -- albeit super reluctant -- response.
"I don't want to. I don't want to fight Urijah. He's the one that got me into the sport. He's one of my best friends. He's such an amazing person. But, not saying that's not going to happen. Not saying that the boss man won't come to us with a ridiculous amount of money saying let do this. That's something we probably wouldn't turn down and we'd have to go do what we do in the gym everyday. Which is slap each other around and have a smile on our face. That's a great situation to be in because it means that we're both doing awesome and that we are going to get paid really well. But, I don't want to have to fight Urijah, obviously. Even if it were just about the money, I don't want to fight the guy. But, we are in the business, that is the business. We have a great camp and we are taking over the world, man."
The good news -- at least for now -- is that a fight between his best friend and training partner is the furthest thing on Dillashaw's mind -- he has plenty of challengers ready to take his throne. In addition to the aforementioned primetime players, former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and Takeya Mizugaki are also lurking in the shadows.
But, who will ultimately get first crack?