If Instagram posts were a reflection of reality, then reigning UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo would be the greatest fighter who ever lived. Or perhaps a certifiable nut job. Either way, “Triple C” is not the combat sports deity he pretends to be on social media.
That’s according to TJ Dillashaw, who believes former 135-pound champion Dominick Cruz has the right style to recapture the bantamweight crown when “The Dominator” collides with Cejudo in the UFC 249 co-main event this weekend in Florida.
“I actually think Cruz wins the fight, I think he wins a decision,” Dillashaw told ESPN. “I don’t think Cejudo is all he cracks himself up to be. He’s very good, don’t get me wrong. He’s a great athlete, he’s done some amazing things in the combat world. But I don’t think he’s to the level of what Cruz can show him. It’s gonna be difficult for Cejudo to deal with Cruz’s awkward movement.”
Dillashaw, who surrendered his title in the wake of last year’s positive drug test (more on that here), is probably most qualified to speak on the matter, having fought — and lost — to both Cejudo (UFC on ESPN 1) and Cruz (UFC Fight Night 81).
“I think MMA wrestling is a completely different sport,” Dillashaw said about the Olympic gold medalist. “I think the distance control that Cruz has is going to be one of Cejudo’s biggest challenges. He’s not gonna be able to get a hold of Cruz. If he does, he isn’t gonna be able to hold him down. It’s not like Cejudo is a jiu-jitsu expert where he’s gonna take advantage of Cruz giving him his back. Because Cruz gives up his back constantly when he gets taken down, but he uses it to get back to his feet. I think Cruz’s scrambling ability and his MMA wrestling will be an advantage for him, too.”
Cruz is stepping in for bantamweight contender Jose Aldo, after the former featherweight kingpin was stranded in Brazil with visa issues. Once the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control, “Junior” is expected to regain his lost title shot.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 249 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+/Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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