Once top contenders Dominick Cruz and Raphael Assuncao announced injuries in the span of an hour in late December, bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw lost two potential title fights in the first half of 2015.
With options dwindling, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White told reporters during a UFC 182 media scrum that Dillashaw will likely rematch former champion Renan Barao next.
From MMA Fighting:
"Renan just fought and won," White said. "They would have fought before, if he made weight."
Dillashaw and Barao originally faced off at UFC 173, with "Viper" pulling off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history as he knocked out "The Baron" in the fifth round of an absolute beatdown.
The Brazilian was set to rematch the Team Alpha Male product this past August at UFC 177, but the fight fell through at the very last second when Barao was forced to withdraw due to a futile weight cut. Dillashaw instead defended his strap against former Bellator champion and UFC debutant Joe Soto on just 24 hours notice, knocking out his foe in the fifth round with a picturesque head kick.
Although 2014 was tough for Barao, the former champion closed out the year with a much needed victory over Mitch Gagnon at UFC Fight Night 58.
While it seems that Barao vs Dillashaw 2 is the fight to make, White would not rule out the possibility of the bantamweight kingpin taking on his mentor and teammate Urijah Faber.
From MMA Fighting:
"They're definitely open to it," White said. "When you have a team full of guys that are in the same weight, you're eventually going to have to fight each other, and they're all cool with that."
Both Dillashaw and Faber have been hesitant to publicly speak out in favor of a fight with one another, but a big check from UFC brass could likely change their mind.
So would you rather see potentially a glorified sparring match, or a rematch that Barao does not necessarily deserve?