To say there is little turmoil between both the Team Alpha Male and Nova Uniao fight camps would be doing one of mixed martial arts (MMA) everlasting feuds an injustice.
Each camp has produced champions, including current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight and Featherweight linchpins T.J. Dillashaw and Jose Aldo, respectively. Furthermore, "Junior" defended the belt against Dillashaw's teammate Urijah Faber in World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) in dominant fashion (those leg kicks!) at WEC 48.
Now, though, in a surprise change of events, Dillashaw supports fellow champion Aldo, coming to his defense after the latter received much criticism for his withdrawal from a title defense against Conor McGregor at UFC 189.
"I feel bad for him -- that was going to be Aldo’s biggest payday to date," Dillashaw told MMAjunkie. "Defending your belt, that’s putting a lot on the line and having something that’s going to affect you that much isn’t worth it -- it’s not like you got a bruised hand or something small like that, this controls you entire body."
Dillashaw has grounds for discourse in the situation as he too pulled out of a planned title defense in April against Aldo's teammate and previous champion, Renan Barao.
"It was definitely impossible to fight through the injury," said Dillashaw. "Mine was a fracture, so they wouldn’t even let me fight because it was too dangerous.You can't even sneeze, cough, laugh, and even watching a funny movie is not a great idea. Getting out of bed hurts. If you can't even get out of bed, how the heck are you supposed to go and fight another man, especially for a world title?"
This issue is put into even greater perspective if one considers that Middleweight champion Chris Weidman also had to withdraw from a scheduled title defense against Vitor Velfort at UFC 184, making it three titleholders in a row to suffer the same injury.
Perhaps, it is because of the scope of UFC 189, which Aldo was going to star in, or maybe the theater created by the relentless zingers spewed by the eventual interim featherweight champion McGregor. Regardless of whether or not Dillashaw's teammate, Chad Mendes, scored a finish over McGregor in their title fight at UFC 189 (highlights here), thus eliminating a huge payday for Aldo, the former still thinks it was wise he did not enter the cage.
"I felt bad for him. I thought Mendes was going to go out there and beat McGregor so he would have missed out on a lot of money. The injury was legit. If he has a hurt rib, that sucks," Dillashaw said.
Dillashaw's first title defense since injury will take place against Barao next Saturday (July 25, 2015) in Chicago, Illinois. Maniacs can find more on the latest UFC on FOX 16 fight card rumors and news here.