T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt are no strangers to each other, having shared the same gym and mats at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento. On November 4th at UFC 217 in New York City, they will somewhat be in familiar territory as they fight for Garbrandt’s bantamweight world title.
Dillashaw had always prided himself to be more of a “professional athlete”, unlike Garbrandt who “just tries to fight.” This kind of mentality is what Dillashaw believes would be his former teammate’s downfall.
"An athlete's going to go out there and figure out ways to win, see the holes in the game,” Dillashaw said during Monday’s MMA Hour episode (transcript via MMA Mania). “I do treat myself more as an athlete than I do a fighter, as a fighter you're a street thug. Going out there trying to knock someone out, being really aggressive. I'm going to go out there as an athlete just as he said, and pick him apart using that."
"Don't get me wrong, he's very athletic. He's quick, he's got some great athletic attributes. I think yeah maybe his downfall is that he's more of a fighter. He could be more of an athlete; I just don't know if he's smart enough to be that way."
After his original fight date with Garbrandt for UFC 213 in July was scrapped, Dillashaw shifted his focus to a possible super fight against Demetrious Johnson. While he says he is in no way overlooking his upcoming assignment, he also remains open to the idea of coming down in weight and facing the current top pound-for-pound fighter.
"I would love that. I wanted it when it should have happened,” Dillashaw said. “He's the pound for pound kingpin, he's the guy that's top of the world right now and I think he's a winnable fight. I think that I could have stopped him from breaking the record and it could have been something great, a big money fight for himself.”
“And yeah, that's something I'd love to do, especially knowing that I can make the weight, knowing that 125 is a very doable thing."
Dillashaw’s interview begins at the 1:32:52 mark of the video.