Things didn’t go T.J. Dillashaw’s way Saturday night, and to say that he is miffed about it would be an understatement.
Dillashaw was hoping to snatch up Henry Cejudo’s UFC flyweight title in the main event of UFC Fight Night 143 in Brooklyn, but the reigning bantamweight champ was demolished in just 32 seconds. The Treigning Lab product was clipped by a partially-blocked head kick, shoved to the ground and then eventually stopped by a flurry of punches from Cejudo. Referee Kevin MacDonald intervened after Dillashaw was sent to the canvas for the third time from the punches, and the vanquished challenger vehemently protested the stoppage in the aftermath.
“It sucks, man. It sucks to have it stolen from you,” Dillashaw told the assembled media at the post-fight press conference. “I worked my butt off and I’m so much better than that. It’s a title fight, a champ vs. champ fight and they stop it like that? I was on a single-leg. He [MacDonald] said, ‘Show me something,’ but I’m on a single-leg in scramble and he stopped punching. It’s pathetic.”
Dillashaw, who dropped from 135 pounds to 125 in an attempt to become the promotion’s fourth double champ, said he felt better at flyweight and had a high energy level. He gave Cejudo a backhanded congratulations, but was adamant that he was not beaten by “The Messenger.” “I did not lose,” he declared. “I had the UFC doctors down telling me they are sorry. I wouldn’t care if I got smoked. But I got clipped behind the ear… But, you know, you get dealt a shitty card. How could he be happy by winning that way? Obviously, he kept his belt but I wouldn’t call myself the champ-champ if I won that way.”
UFC President Dana White, who spoke to the media several after Dillashaw left the presser, echoed the bantamweight king’s sentiments.
“I thought it was an early finish,” White admitted. “This is a super fight, a world championship fight. Jesus Christ, let them fight. I thought it was a horrible stoppage.” Dillashaw told the media that he wants to fight Cejudo again, but with the flyweight division in a state of flux at the moment, he’d prefer the possible rematch be at 135 pounds. He also scoffed at the notion of his pre-fight plan of trying to fight current featherweight monarch Max Holloway to win a third world title.
“I’m pretty bitter right now,” Dillashaw said. “I’m about to f---ing cry. I put in a lot of work. How can I call out Max Holloway now? I didn’t even win this fight. I am the best fighter but unfortunately I didn’t get to prove that tonight.”
Dillashaw fought back tears at times during the presser and left earlier than expected. White had no definitive answer about whether he will grant Dillashaw an immediate rematch with Cejudo and didn’t elaborate on whether the 125-pound division will even remain.