(16-3) is the reigning
Ultimate Fighting Championship
bantamweight champion. In his
next outing, the 32 year-old will look to become a champion in two
weight classes when he challenges UFC flyweight king Henry
for his 125-pound strap. The match will serve as the
main event of
UFC Fight Night 143
, which will emanate from the Barclays
Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Jan. 19.
In the lead-up to the title bout, here are five things that you
might not know about Dillashaw.
He was a decorated wrestler.
During his time at Bret Harte High School in California, Dillashaw
compiled an impressive wrestling record of 170 wins and 33 losses.
He continued in the sport at California State University,
Fullerton. His college wrestling achievements included fourth place
finishes at the 2007 and 2008 Pac-10 Championships, as well as
being a NCAA qualifier on three occasions. During his senior
season, Dillashaw was ranked 10th in the nation at 133 pounds.
He was on “The Ultimate Fighter.”
The then Team Alpha Male representative was 4-0 as a pro when he
joined the cast on the 14th season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
Dillashaw gained entry to the house by besting Matt
by first round TKO. He was then chosen by Team Bisping.
In the preliminary round, Dillashaw submitted Roland
, qualifying him for the semi-finals. There he overcame
by unanimous decision. Dillashaw made his official UFC
debut at TUF 14 Finale in Dec. 2011. He faced off against future
UFC stalwart John Dodson
Dillashaw lost the match by first round TKO. The defeat is the only
time in his career that he has been stopped.
He prefers striking.
Despite his wrestling background, Dillashaw’s preference is to duke
it out on the feet. Eight (50 percent) of his wins have come by
KO/TKO. His long-time striking coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig once said
of his star student, “TJ stuck out from the first time I ran a
class. His work ethic, the questions he was asking, his attention
to detail, how focused he was during the drills, it was
His split with his old camp was acrimonious.
Today, Dillashaw trains primarily with his former Team Alpha Male
striking coach Duane Ludwig
in Colorado at Ludwig Martial Arts. Since parting ways with their
old team, there has been animosity between the two teams. The
departure was played up in Dillashaw’s last two bouts with former
. However, Dillashaw emerged victorious from both
clashes via stoppage, winning at UFC 217 and UFC 227
He once caused a big upset.
Going into his title tilt versus then bantamweight belt holder
, at UFC 173 in July 2015, not many people gave the No. 4
ranked Dillashaw a chance against the pathologically aggressive
Brazilian, who was unbeaten across his previous 33 contests.
However, the American’s fast feet and accurate striking frustrated
the champion, and the match eventually culminated in a fifth round
TKO. Dillashaw’s performance that night saw him claim the World MMA
Awards’ 2014 Upset of the Year. He also earned Fight of the Night
and Performance of the Night bonuses. In the post-fight interview,
UFC commentator Joe Rogan exclaimed, “That was the greatest
performance I have ever seen in my life!” At UFC on Fox 16 in July
2015, Dillashaw met Barao in a rematch. With his fourth round TKO
triumph, the American retained his bantamweight strap.