It took Vaughan Lee less than five minutes to submit the once touted Norifumi Yamamoto with an armbar at UFC 144, but upcoming opponent T.J. Dillashaw wasn’t particularly impressed.
“He’s got some good grappling,” Dillashaw told the Sherdog Radio Network. “He’s got this grappling background that everybody’s hyped up on, but I think it’s a little overrated. He submitted Kid Yamamoto with nothing fancy. He just threw it on there and Kid defended the wrong way. I watched some guys like [Chris] Cariaso outgrapple him and [Brad] Pickett outgrapple him when they fought back in the day.”
Dillashaw will meet Lee in a bantamweight bout Wednesday at UFC on Fuel TV 4. Besides not being blown away by Lee’s win over Yamamoto, Dillashaw has seen what he believes are additional shortcomings in his opponent’s game.
“I think his cardio’s not always there,” Dillashaw said. “I think it’s a really good fight for me. I feel like I can win the fight anywhere. I think, like I said, his BJJ’s overrated and I think my wrestling will be able to take advantage of that. I’m not afraid to take the fight anywhere and I’m planning on finishing it.”
Both fighters are coming off wins. Lee is 1-1 in the UFC, losing his debut to Cariaso before subbing Yamamoto. Dillashaw, who trains with Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male, won a unanimous decision over Walel Watson in his last outing.
“I feel like they’re trying to build me, get me some experience,” Dillashaw said when asked his opinion of how he’s being matched so far in the UFC. “I only have six fights as of now. I think they’re trying to get me some more experience and just build my name up a little bit. That’s the way I see it. But anybody I fight in the UFC is going to be dangerous. If you’re here, you know what you’re doing and you’re a tough fight in your own way.”
Lee isn’t just a submission specialist. He’ll be looking to hurt Dillashaw on the feet, but again, Dillashaw doesn’t seem especially concerned with his foe’s striking prowess.
“He’s definitely aggressive,” Dillashaw said. “He comes straight forward. I wouldn’t say his standup’s real dynamic or fast, but he knows what he’s doing. He throws power, but I feel like I’m way faster than him, way more dynamic on my feet. I can pick him apart on my feet.”
With that said, Dillashaw does credit Lee in some regards and he’s making a point not to underestimate him.
“Vaughan Lee, he’s a sleeper,” Dillashaw said. “He knows what he’s doing. He’s got some good game and he’s proven it against some good guys. You’ve just got to never overlook anybody and be ready to throw down with them.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:03:10).