Some thoughts on a lovely Monday:
UFC This Weekend- Cannot WAIT for this weekend’s fights. Obviously TJ Dillashaw making his first title defense of Sacramento’s first UFC belt is going to be insane. A lot of questions will be answered on Saturday.
-Did Renan Barao have enough time to recover from his previous fight when he and TJ fought the first time?
-Did Barao underestimate TJ and subsequently get caught? He was never the same after being floored in the first round.
-Can TJ stay a surprise to Barao? Will his coach Bang Ludwig have even more changeups in store?
In short, there are those who wonder if TJ Dillashaw shocking the juggernaut that is Renan Barao just a few short months ago was a fluke.
Dillashaw knows this, and has been working overtime to prove them wrong. In the post-fight Octagon interview, Joe Rogan said TJ’s performance was the greatest he’d ever seen. That’s high praise from a guy in Rogan who not only has seen thousands (THOUSANDS!) of fights, but also a guy who is not prone to hyperbole.
There are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding this fight, and there is also the thought that you’re never truly the champion until you defend your title. Being a title HOLDER rather than a title CONTENDER are two totally different things. One example?
The media pressures when you are champ are so much more difficult. The champion is the one who is supposed to be the draw, and do the bulk of the work in fight promotion. Obviously if Chael Sonnen is the one challenging you for the title, or Nick Diaz, those would be big exceptions.
Add to the fact that Renan Barao does not speak English, so his media requests will be far lesser than Dillashaw’s. Just a fact of the business.
Add to that fact that the fight is on Dillashaw’s home turf, and it gets pretty silly.
This may not seem like a lot, and I wouldn’t let that sway your super-legal wagering, but it is something to acknowledge. While Barao will be able to use much of his time for training and settling into his routine, TJ will be doing (and has been) the bulk of the media responsibilities.
There’s also ticket requests. While Barao is based in Brazil, and no doubt will have a couple of requests Saturday night, its nothing compared to Dillashaw. Friends, family, neighbors, strangers…..all will (or have) asked the newly-minted champion for a little help. It all counts.
In addition to Dillashaw’s fight, Danny “Last Call” Castillo finds himself in a co-main event scrap with Tony Ferguson. This fight on the surface may not blow your hair back, but there may not be anyone on the card feeling more pressure than Castillo. A born and bred Sacramentan, Castillo is obsessed with winning his first UFC fight in front of his hometown crowd. As an underdog to Edson Barbosa at UFC on Fox 9, he rocked the favorite early on, and let a decision slip away. Due to the Aldo-Mendes fight being postponed, Castillo received the bonus of getting a hometown fight. He hopes to finally look out at Sleep Train Arena with his hand raised.
UFC 177: Dillashaw vs Barao