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UFC 227: Dillashaw vs Garbrandt 2


wandshogun09
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We're on the eve of 226 but I'm getting this in now because our second baby is due this week and I might not get around to this once the madness begins. 

Saturday 4th August in LA. We've got a couple of big rematches in the lighter weight classes. It's UFC 227 and it's less than a month away. 

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PPV MAIN CARD
TJ Dillashaw vs Cody Garbrandt - Bantamweight Title

Demetrious Johnson vs Henry Cejudo - Flyweight Title

Thiago Santos vs Kevin Holland

Polyana Viana vs JJ Aldrich  

Cub Swanson vs Renato Moicano

 

FOX SPORTS 1 PRELIMS
Pedro Munhoz vs Brett Johns

Ricky Simon vs Montel Jackson 

Bethe Correia vs Irene Aldana 

Sheymon Moraes vs Matt Sayles

 

FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Jose Torres vs Alex Perez

Ricardo Ramos vs Kyung Ho Kang

Danielle Taylor vs Zhang Weili

Marlon Vera vs Wuliji Buren 

 

OK, a comedown from 225 and 226. Let's get that out of the way right off the bat. But I think that's a strong card. I've guessed the bout order for now there but I'll update it as and when. 

 

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Dillashaw vs Garbrandt 2 then. This rematch has snuck up on us. Feels like it's been a long time coming but when you look back, their first fight was only in November. Seems like ages ago the rematch was announced. 

Anyway, most of you will know the backstory here but for anyone who doesn't I'll give it a recap. 

TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt came up as products of the Team Alpha Male gym in California. Both protégés of the team's leader Urijah Faber. 

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There they are in happier times. 

Being 6 years older, Dillashaw was a few years ahead of Garbrandt in his career. After going 4-0 he got on season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter in 2011. He was marked out as one of the favourites from early on in the show and made it to the finals, only to lose to John Dodson. After that though his career went from strength to strength. He won 5 of his next 6 fights, with the only loss being a highly debatable split decision to Raphael Assuncao in 2013. 

Meanwhile, a young Cody Garbrandt had turned pro in 2012. He knocked out his first 3 opponents and decided he needed to get out of Ohio and train at a top gym to maximise his potential. 

24th May 2014 is a significant turning point in this whole story. That was the month that Cody Garbrandt joined the Alpha Male team. And on the 24th he scored his first win as a TAM fighter, a first round KO in a promotion called Pinnacle FC. That same night over in the UFC, Dillashaw shocked the world by upsetting then 135lb king Renan Barao. Dropped him early, finished him late, and dominated at all points in between. Duane Ludwig, who was the striking coach at TAM at this time, was credited with helping Dillashaw make huge improvements in his game.

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After a few failed attempts by Faber himself, Dillashaw had finally won Team Alpha Male their first UFC title. 

For Garbrandt, he notched one more win, moving to 5-0 with 5 KOs, and the UFC came calling. He won his first 3 UFC fights impressively but to little fanfare mostly on undercards. During this same time, Dillashaw successfully defended his belt twice. He stopped Joe Soto in August 2014. Then absolutely wrecked Barao in their rematch on FOX in July 2015. 

As Summer 2015 ended though, it became clear things weren't going too smoothly at Alpha Male. From what I recall, originally there was some kind of rift between Faber and Ludwig which led to Ludwig leaving the team. The problems with Dillashaw then started as Dillashaw had been successful under Ludwig's guidance and still wanted to train with Ludwig in Colorado as well as remaining at Alpha Male. Faber wasn't having any of that. For a bit they tried to play it down in the media. They even tried to put on a united front during filming for TUF: McGregor vs Faber where both TJ and Cody appeared on Team Faber's coaching staff. But eventually it all came out and shit got messy. 

Dillashaw in October 2015;

"I've been stuck in between Urijah and Duane Ludwig for this last camp, going back and forth for my training camp and they kept bickering at each other and making it tough on me. I mean, Urijah brought a coach into Team Alpha Male for the last two years of my career that I learned to believe in and I learned to love and I learned to trust with my career. And then a bunch of drama happens and I'm having to choose where I go and who I want to train with. Am I not supposed to train with a coach that I put all my faith into and helped me win a world title?"

"I told Uriah, look man, I've got a big fight coming up, I've got to do what I believe is best for me to be ready for this fight and that's doing my whole camp in Colorado. You know, I split it half-and-half in this last camp and it was really tough. It was hard to do, going back and forth. He took it pretty hard. I was actually forced out of the gym. I'm not allowed to work out at Alpha Male anymore because of that decision I made." - TJ Dillashaw

It's actually kind of weird how the bad blood started between TJ and Cody because Cody had only just joined TAM when TJ fucked off to Colorado. But with them being in the same division and Cody on the rise and carrying the flag for the team, it was inevitable that the tension would boil over. 

In January 2016, Dillashaw lost his title to Dominick Cruz on FOX. In May, Garbrandt was put in his first UFC main event. At just 8-0, he took on 20-0 Brazilian Thomas Almeida. Given the difference in experience, most favoured Almeida. Cody knocked him out in under 3 minutes. He followed that up with a 48 second TKO against Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 202. Dillashaw had rebounded from the Cruz loss by avenging his previous loss to Raphael Assuncao in their UFC 200 clash. 

UFC 207 in December 2016 is mostly remembered as the night Ronda Rousey got obliterated by Amanda Nunes never to be seen again. But it was Cody Garbrandt who stole the show. At 10-0 he got a title shot against Dominick Cruz. It was thought going in to be the typical slick technician (Cruz) vs power puncher (Garbrandt) matchup. But Garbrandt surprised everyone by beating Cruz at his own game. For 5 rounds he outworked, outmanoeuvred, outfootworked and out-timed Cruz at every turn. Dropped him a bunch of times and taunted him a bunch more. 

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A ridiculous performance. One of the best in UFC history. Everything clicked for him that night and Cruz didn't have any answers. It went to the cards but there was no mystery what the verdict was. 

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In just his 11th pro MMA fight, Cody Garbrandt was the UFC bantamweight champion. 

On the undercard that same night, Dillashaw dominated John Lineker and his 'Hands Of Stone' to a shutout decision. Firmly putting himself back in the title mix. 

Just like Cody's painstakingly overly groomed facial hair, everything just lined up. Cody vs TJ seemed like a no brainer at this point.

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But Cody picked up a back injury so to buy some time they were given the TUF gig. Team Garbrandt vs Team Dillashaw. Which, of course, only added fuel to the flames of the rivalry. Going into the season, I thought I'd be rooting for Cody because I've never warmed to TJ and Cody's performance against Cruz blew me away. But very early in the season, it quickly became apparent that Cody Garbrandt is a proper dickhead. Dillashaw came off OK. I don't know whether it was Cody being such a knob that made TJ look better or what, but Cody did himself no favours. He seemed like the typical immature meathead who lacks the intelligence to win a battle of wits so has to resort to kicking off physically all the time. 

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He got more and more frustrated as the season went on, culminating in a great bit where he lost the coaches challenge and was seething to the point he looked like he was going to burst into tears. 

They finally fought at UFC 217 in November 2017. The title was on the line but if you've read this far then you'll know it was about more than just the title. The fight itself was incredible. Explosive but technical at the same time. Full of drama, twists and turns. Then in the second round, after being knocked down himself, Dillashaw caught Cody clean on the chin and put him away. Cody recovered fairly quick but it was already over by that point. It was a hell of a finish and Dillashaw got right in Cody's mug as he stumbled back up to his feet, which made for this great visual; 

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I don't usually really like stuff like that when a fight is over but I can't lie it was a cool moment. And Cody's a twat anyway so balls to him. 

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TJ Dillashaw. UFC bantamweight champ once again. 

They were actually quite respectful in the immediate post-fight fallout but that didn't last long. Following TJ regaining the belt, Dana White made it known that he was interested in doing either a Dillashaw vs Demetrious Johnson champ vs champ superfight or a TJ vs Cody 2 rematch. But when March's UFC 222 headliner Holloway vs Edgar fell apart, the UFC wanted to throw TJ vs Cody 2 in its place on just 4 weeks notice. Dillashaw rightly said no. 

"It took me two years to get a title shot back, now they want me to defend it on four weeks notice? I have a five-week old son. I'm not training. My camp is in California and I'm in Denver right now. And all this to face a guy who doesn't deserve a rematch to begin with? I lost a split decision to Dominick Cruz when I lost my belt, the UFC told me they thought I won that fight, and it still took me two years to get back to it. I had to wait through Cody's back injury last year, all of TUF bullshit. I told the UFC I'm not doing it. I'm shooting for the DJ fight in July." - TJ Dillashaw

Sadly, the TJ vs DJ talks went nowhere. And of course, Garbrandt accused TJ of ducking the rematch and making excuses. 

"My wife will be expecting anytime during that fight week, I just started being able to use my right hand, how many excuses do you have @TJDillashaw ??" - Cody Garbrandt 

I thought TJ was spot on, to be fair. 

In April, the UFC finally confirmed that the fight was set. TJ Dillashaw vs Cody Garbrandt 2. For the title. At UFC 227 in August. 

If you're somehow still not feeling this fight yet, watch this fantastic promo...

If you're not into it after THAT, I don't know what to tell you. If this is anything like the first fight then we're in for a treat. And the best thing is we can't lose. Either TJ goes 2-0 over the div or Cody wins and we get a rubber match. 

 

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Mighty Mouse vs Cejudo 2 is the co-main event. At this point it's going to be pretty much all rematches at flyweight for DJ. But as rematches go, this might be one of the better ones, I think. 

Their first fight was at UFC 197 back in April 2016. Cejudo was undefeated 10-0 going in and, with the Olympic gold medal backstory, some were fancying him to be the one to dethrone Mouse. Nobody called it to go down how it did on the night. 

DJ stopped Cejudo in just 2:49 of the first round with a combination of knees and punches. 

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Just got to him early and never gave Cejudo a sniff of a chance to get back in it. 

It was one of those fights though, that was over so quick that we never got to see how the styles really matched up. 

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Cejudo is a skilled fighter and an elite athlete. Obviously, he won gold in freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Beijing Olympics so his wrestling is as high level as it gets. But he's shown a strong striking game in recent fights. He's used a bit of a Machida-like Karate stance very effectively at times as well, which you wouldn't expect from a wrestler. He's beat Wilson Reis and Sergio Pettis in his last two fights. He's looked good. I'm not quite as high on him as some but there's no denying he's a quality fighter. 

He's in with arguably the best ever though. 

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Demetrious Johnson is just unbelievably good. A really special fighter who is in his prime right now. He's the only ever UFC flyweight champion. He's held that belt since it was introduced in 2012. A 6 year reign of complete dominance. He also holds the record for the most successful title defences in UFC history with 11. He broke the record (previously held by Anderson Silva) in his last fight against Ray Borg in October. And not just that, it's the way he did it.

Breaking Anderson's record would've been impressive enough, right? But no. Just to show off, DJ goes and hits a German suplex into an armbar for the finish! Might just be the best highlight reel finish in UFC history, and he did it while making history. Amazing. 

His record is 27-2-1, with the only losses coming in his days as a 135er. He's currently on a 13 fight winning streak and hasn't lost since the Dominick Cruz fight nearly 7 years ago. He's not for everyone but I love watching him. He's an assassin in there. I don't care that he's not Johnny Buyrates. There's only ever truly a handful of them about at any one time anyway. DJ is the boss in the cage. 

I'm interested to see how this plays out. Cejudo's striking seems to have come on since their first fight. It surely has to go longer this time, doesn't it? But I can't see a different end result. Despite Cejudo's skills, I don't really see how he beats DJ. It's going to be hard as fuck to just purely outwrestle him because 1) you've got to catch the little bastard first, 2) if you catch him then you've got to take him down without getting caught with strikes coming in or getting tied up in a sub, 3) if you get him down then he's going to be hard to pin down and then 4) you've got to do all the above repeatedly because you're most likely not getting a quick finish on him if you DO somehow successfully take him down. He's not unbeatable. Nobody is. But the chances to catch him are so slim, and he so rarely makes errors, that it's hard to see what Cejudo does to solve the puzzle. 

 

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Gustafsson vs Oezdemir is ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH*** for me on this one. I've wanted to see this ever since Volkan burst onto the scene and scored those quick knockouts of Cirkunov and Manuwa last year. You know when sometimes you just think of a potential fight and instantly fall in love with it? This is one of them for me. Just think the combination of their styles is almost perfect. Only concern I have is that Gus has been out a long time. He hasn't fought since bashing up Glover Teixeira on the Sweden card last May. That was one of his best career performances IMO but once again the injury bug fucked him. That's been the big thing holding Gus back. He gets injured a lot. If you remember, it was actually supposed to be Jones vs Gustafsson 2 in 2014 but Gus got hurt and DC stepped in. From there the Jones-DC feud engulfed the division and between that and injuries, Gus just hasn't quite been able to get back in the picture. He's one of the very best 205ers on the planet easy though. With different judges, Gus could possibly have had wins over both Jones and Cormier on his résumé now. Don't get me wrong, I thought both decisions were correct but they were close and I could see the arguments for Gus in both cases at the time. Oezdemir is looking to bounce back from his own loss to Cormier, although that wasn't close at all, DC completely big brothered him. But if Volkan can catch a possibly off form Gus here, it's a massive rebound win for him and he's right back in the convo. So yeah, I love this fight. Can Volkan hang at this level or is he basically another Jimi Manuwa? Good but not good enough. And is Gusty rusty? A 14 month layoff is never good and it's a tough fight to come back to. Really looking forward to this one. 
 

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Antonio Carlos Junior AKA 'Shoeface' is still on the card, I think. He was supposed to be fighting Derek Brunson but Brunson is out. Real shame that because I really like that matchup a lot. Shoeface deserves a step up and a prominent spot on a strong card like this, I think. He's been plugging away on the Fight Nights and has racked up 5 wins on the bounce and looked fantastic recently. Submitted Tim Boetsch, Jack Marshman and Eric Spicely in his last 3 outings. Eddie Bravo was really bigging Spicely up on Rogan's podcast not long ago as a beast grappler as well, and Shoeface subbed him. His grappling is off the charts and he's really likeable. He won TUF Brazil a few years back too. I like him. I hope they find him a solid name replacement and he stays on the card. 

 

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Cub Swanson vs Renato Moicano was nearly my ONE TO WATCH. This could be a killer fight. Swanson is coming off back-to-back losses to Frankie Edgar and Brian Ortega but he's not a guy I see them sacking anytime soon. Usually always in entertaining fights and has a crowd pleasing style. A loss here would be really bad though. Losing 3 on the trot is hard to come back from. And he's got a tough opponent in Moicano. He's more of a striker but he has a good ground game from what I've seen (BJJ black belt). He's got a 12-1-1 record with the only loss being to Ortega in a great fight he was probably winning before Ortega caught him in a comeback submission. He also holds wins over Jeremy Stephens and Calvin Kattar. He's no joke. Cub will have to be on his game here. 

 

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Pedro Munhoz vs Brett Johns could be a fun one. Munhoz for me is a bit underrated. He's 15-3-1 and has submission wins over Rob Font and Justin Scoggins. He's also gone the distance with Assuncao and fought to split decisions against John Dodson and Jimmie Rivera. He's a tricky little fucker with a good submission game. Brett Johns from Wales is 15-1. He turned some heads when he beat Joe Soto in December with a calf slicer in 30 bastard seconds. Unfortunately, he suffered his first loss to Aljamain Sterling in his last fight. Good little fight this between two of the more under the radar guys in the division. 

 

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Ricardo Ramos vs Kyung Ho Kang I'm highlighting purely because Ramos really caught my attention in his last fight. He was on the UFC 217 prelims at MSG in November against undefeated prospect Aiemann Zahabi (brother of GSP's trainer Firas). I wasn't familiar with him and assumed he was cannon fodder to build up Zahabi. Wrong! Ramos knocked him the fuck out with a spinning back elbow. He hasn't fought a ton of recognisable names but he's only 22 years old and he's already got an 11-1 record with 9 finishes. Worth keeping tabs on. Kang I know I've seen but nothing is jumping out in the memory about him. 

 

So there you go. Nothing else is grabbing me but I like all the fights I've highlighted there. TJ vs Cody 2 could be a war, I think DJ vs Cejudo 2 has to be more competitive this time, and Gus vs Volkan is a full on slobberknocker however I envision it. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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I rate Gusty very highly. 

I had D.C beating Gusty by 4 rounds to 1. That doesn't tell the fully story, because most of the rounds were very close. But I felt the right man won. Gusty vs Jones? I would have to watch it back, but I recall it could have been scored either way. A lot of fans felt Gusty won. 

I hope he creams Oezdemir and goes on to become champion. He's probably the best 205er in MMA history not to hold a version of the world title. 

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Yeah, you have to wonder where Gus would be now if it wasn't for all the injuries and setbacks. He looked so good against Glover last time. If he can look as good as he does despite the layoffs, you wonder how much better he could be right now if his career wasn't so stop/start. Not to mention the money he's missed out on. By now he could've easily done a trilogy with Jones or Cormier, possibly avenged the Rumble loss and all sorts. All big fights. Hopefully he can stay healthy now and start picking up some real momentum. I definitely think once DC retires the division is Gustafsson's for the taking. I mean there's Jones but...is there really? He's like the deadbeat dad of the 205 division. Cunt's never around. 

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Gust was on the verge of being a bit of a star wasnt he, its a shame its all slowed down for him. I think a Gusty on top form defeats an Oezdemir but coming off such a long lay off against a guy whos knowncto start lightning fast could be trouble.

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Of all the guys Mighty Mouse has beaten, Cejudo is the one i always wanted to see again, just because the first one ended so quickly. To some that would be reason for them not to fight again but I think Cejudo has proved he's good enough to at least pose some questions if he gets to settle in. Plus, who else is there?

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If there is one man you fancy could beat Mighty Mouse it's Cejudo. I've always been of the opinion that Cejudo could have done with another fight or two before this, because he seemingly keeps getting better with each fight camp. However, the division is what it is, so there is only really Cejudo to go to.

I'm into it, though. As Egg typed, the first one was over so quick we never really got much of a taste. Plus, Cejudo is without a doubt a better fighter now due to that mad Olympic gold work ethic. Whether that's good enough to beat Mighty Mouse, we shall see.

Edited by ColinBollocks
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Sergio Pettis is the only fresh fight that's jumping out at me for DJ. I'm sure there's one or two more but nothing obvious. And even then, Pettis is a good fighter, I rate him and think he's stepped it up a bit over the last year. But he's still miles and miles behind Mighty Mouse. 

I'm fine with this Cejudo rematch, he's earned another go. But I get David's point. He's not saying he's got a problem with Cejudo getting a rematch, just that it does nothing for him. I can see why. I quite like the fight just because I'm hoping Cejudo can at least make it competitive this time. I just want to see him make a real go of wrestling with DJ. If he tries to do the basic wrestleboxer thing then DJ will run him ragged. But I'm intrigued to see if Cejudo can find a way to make his wrestling work for him at all. I hoped he might get to test DJ there last time but he didn't get even get chance to ask the question much less force DJ to answer it. 

But yeah, can't see past him falling into the Mouse trap again somewhere along the line. DJ will lose eventually but I genuinely don't see it happening at 125 for a long, long time. I just don't see anyone in the flyweight picture currently who I think can catch him. If he's going to lose in the next few years, it's going to be because he's gone up in weight. 

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9 hours ago, ColinBollocks said:

If there is one man you fancy could beat Mighty Mouse it's Cejudo.

You think so? I honestly don't see it, at all. 

The dude has primarily been a decision machine since coming into the UFC, with five of six wins coming via the judges. 

The only way I see someone beating Mouse is via a KO, which I don't see Hank managing to do. If it goes the full five, he's on the losing end of a decision in my opinion.

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I'm not saying he will but I am saying he's an Olympic gold calibre athlete, so on that alone you fancy if he has the time and has the right coaching he can get close. He's already got that elite level championship mentality, which is part of the battle. Cejudo is just unlucky the division is shallow because he could do with another couple of fights to get closer.

Cejudo has made massive leaps in progress since he fought Mighty Mouse. Since then he even got a TKO victory over a tough opponent because his striking has come on. IMO, this is a different and much better version of Cejudo than a few years ago. Decision machine or not, he's got impressive wins in his last two scraps.

Edited by ColinBollocks
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2 hours ago, ColinBollocks said:

I'm not saying he will but I am saying he's an Olympic gold calibre athlete, so on that alone you fancy if he has the time and has the right coaching he can get close. He's already got that elite level championship mentality, which is part of the battle. Cejudo is just unlucky the division is shallow because he could do with another couple of fights to get closer.

Cejudo has made massive leaps in progress since he fought Mighty Mouse. Since then he even got a TKO victory over a tough opponent because his striking has come on. IMO, this is a different and much better version of Cejudo than a few years ago. Decision machine or not, he's got impressive wins in his last two scraps.

And against anyone else in the division he's probably got a real chance, but he's just unlucky that the champion in his division is probably the legit GOAT and someone who's very much in his fighting prime.

Is there any chance we see Hank move up maybe? He tight at the weight just now? Or no?

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The only thing beating DJ at this point is age. He'll get old someday, and somebody will beat him who in his prime DJ would mop the floor with. It's the same story as always. The guy that beats him doesn't have to be better than DJ was, he just has to be better than him that night.

I don't see DJ losing until he's on the downward slope. Which I don't expect we'll know he's on until midway through a fight, when some ham n' egger is standing over him while Herb Dean tries to tell DJ what day it is. 

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I'm backing Cejudo for the upset. Got a feeling.  The same one I had a bit like Thug Rose when she beat Michelle Waterson, she came back from a loss as an unrecognisable fighter in terms of improvement.  I saw that in Cejudo in his last few fights since losing to Mighty Mouse (including a dodgy decision loss to Benavidez which I and many seemed to score for HJ). I don't know why as such but it seems to be accepted that elite wrestling  is one of the biggest advantages in MMA  and Cejudo has an Olympic gold medal in it. 

That said - you only hear about the winners.  I've backed too many underdogs and left counting my losses. 

But if DJ wins  as expected, what's left for him other than cross-division fights? Nothing I suspect. Can't say I blame him for wanting to avoid the likes of TJ either. 

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Being completely honest, I'm no more interested in seeing the flyweight and bantamweight divisions mix than I am in seeing them stay as they are. Sure, I'd enjoy TJ Vs DJ, it'd be a great fight between two of the top guys in the sport. However it doesn't excite me more than their other options within their respective divisions and that's including preferring to see rematches with guys they have already fought. 

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