UFC 177: TJ Dillashaw Believes There’s “More Pressure” on Renan Barao After Memorable Defeat
By FCF Staff
When you defeat a man who is widely considered to be one of the planet’s best, pound-for-pound fighters, who in addition, hadn’t lost in 33 straight fights, people are going to do a lot of talking. Especially if the victory was so clear cut, some have questioned whether an immediate rematch was the right move to make.
Of course, the fighter who shocked the MMA world is newly minted UFC Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw, who will rematch Barao this Saturday at UFC 177. While Dillashaw must be feeling some pressure to retain the title, the fighter believes he’s not the one with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
“Not at all. He’s the guy I want to beat again and get on that pound-for-pound list,” Dillashaw relayed on the latest edition of FOX Sports 1’s “UFC Tonight”, while discussing whether he feels more pressure heading into the rematch. “I feel there’s more pressure on him after his last performance. He has to make the changes. It’ll be harder for him to step in the Octagon than me. I’m dealing with this fight the same as every other fight.”
Although Dillashaw beat Barao to the punch throughout much of their May 24th bout, and put away the Nova Uniao fighter in the fifth round, the oddsmakers only have the champ as a slight favorite. Since Barao holds wins over notable contenders like Urijah Faber, Michael McDonald, and Eddie Wineland, among others, there are plenty of observers who believe the former champ will regain the title.
“No matter what, you’ll have critics,” noted Dillashaw. “You have to ignore them, know the hard work is what you have to do and just keep winning. You’ll always have critics and doubters.”
“You’ve got to try not to,” the champion furthered on “UFC Tonight”, while discussing how he can top his memorable performance at UFC 173. “You can’t put pressure on yourself and try to outdo your last performance. You just have to go out and win.”
One of the key reasons Dillashaw has evolved into one of the sport’s top fighters, is because of the guidance he’s received from his striking coach, Duane Ludwig. Although the renowned instructor and former fighter is no longer based out of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Ludwig was an integral part of Dillashaw’s camp once again.
“Duane lived with me for this camp,” the decorated wrestler confirmed. “He moved his family to Colorado and then moved back and has been living with me. For the last eight weeks, he’s been my roommate.”
It will be interesting to see what sort of adjustments Barao has made, since he’s fully aware now of the hand speed, agility and power Dillashaw possesses.
“He has to cut off TJ and punch with him. He’s slower, but has heavier hands. He needs to strike first,” FOX Sports 1 commentator Brian Stann posited on “UFC Tonight. “He’s got to slow down Dillashaw – punch with him, not wait for him. And he needs to land the kicks. For Dillashaw, he has to take away the confidence of Barao right away. After being dominated last time, Barao will have doubt in the back of his mind. If TJ can land some punches and do it again, it will make Barao doubt himself again. We could see another dominant victory by Dillashaw.”
UFC 177 will be hosted by the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California.