T.J. Dillashaw: I’m Going To Run Right Through Walel Watson

Feb 14, 2012

At 5-foot-11, Walel Watson might not be considered a rangy opponent -- except for the fact that he competes at 135 pounds.

Still, T.J. Dillashaw won’t be worried about Watson’s length when they meet Wednesday at UFC on Fuel 1.

“He’s obviously going to be the tallest bantamweight I’ll ever fight,” Dillashaw told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “He’s got a long reach. Other than that, I don’t find him too dangerous. Yeah, he’s going to use his reach to his advantage, but he’s not dangerous with it. He likes to stay on the outside obviously and use it to his advantage, but I’m not too impressed with his ground game or his [aggression].”

Watson is 1-1 in the UFC. He debuted with a stoppage victory over Joseph Sandoval in October, but then dropped a split decision to Yves Jabouin in December. The majority of his wins outside of the Octagon have come via submission, including two anaconda chokes and two triangles.

Dillashaw, who wrestled collegiately at Cal State Fullerton, plans to stand some with Watson and also take him down.

“I’m going to do a little bit of both,” he said. “I’m going to use my strength to my advantage as well, but yeah, I feel he’s pretty easy to take down if Yves [Jabouin] was able to do it multiple times.”

A teammate of Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes and company at Team Alpha Male, Dillashaw also credits his camp as a reason Watson’s reach won’t bother him.

“We’re known for having a bunch of short, stocky guys at Team Alpha Male, but we’ve actually got some tall guys as well,” Dillashaw said. “I’ve been training with four guys that are 5-11 in our camp. Three of them are 145-pounders and one of them is actually a really good 135-pounder, Chris Holdsworth. I’ve been using those guys to get ready for Walel. They all have the same height and about the same reach.”

Watson is undeniably long, but at the end of the day, Dillashaw expects to nullify the one edge he believes his opponent could have on him.

“I’ve definitely prepared for it,” Dillashaw said. “I should be used to it. Everything’s been feeling on point with it. Obviously every fighter is a little bit different, so it always takes a little bit getting used to when he gets out there in the cage, but I plan on running right through him. I don’t feel like he’s going to be able to match my strength or my power. With the reach, that’s the only thing I feel like he had an advantage on me with, so I took care of that and got ready for it.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:24:30).

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