Sometimes it’s best to know when not to say anything. Advice Cody Garbrandt’s corner might have needed to hear ahead of UFC 217, with their champion getting set to face bitter rival T.J. Dillashaw. The feud between Team Alpha Male and Dillashaw runs a mile deep at this point, stemming back to Dillashaw’s first title reign and his decision to part ways with the camp. And since that point, few kind words have been traded between them.
But it was the latest series of trash talk from the Alpha Male camp that seems to have really cost them. Dillashaw, fresh off his win over Garbrandt on November 4th, called in to the MMA Hour recently to talk about his victory. And while on the air, he noted that one of the principal motivators for him, heading into round 2 (where he picked up the KO), was the constant stream of trash talk coming from Garbrandt’s corner (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“I walked back to the corner and I heard their cornermen being jerks, just like they’ve been the whole camp, saying they’ve got my number,” Dillasaw explained Monday on The MMA Hour. “‘We’ve got your f’ing number, Dillashaw! We’ve got your f’ing number!’ I heard that. As soon as I heard that, I turned back to my corner and was like, ‘Alright, let’s get our sh*t together.’
“I kinda hit my hands together and I was like, ‘Alright, I’ve gotta change it up.’ So I sat down in the corner and just listened to (coach) Duane (Ludwig). He’s the one looking from the outside in. That’s why he’s in my corner, he’s got great eyes and we changed up the tempo. We decided to come out for the second round a different fighter.”
“I could hear them talking sh*t the whole time, actually,” Dillashaw said. “Stuff like when I’d a leg kick or something, like, ‘You’re too slow! T.J., you’re too slow! All you’ve got is a right hook!’ All of this stuff, just trying to just continue, just continue to break me, you know?”
If breaking Dillashaw was the plan, then it seems to have been something of a disaster. Dillashaw entered the second frame with a kick-heavy gameplan at range, dropping Garbrandt early in the round. A followup exchange in the pocket ended the fight.
In the aftermath of the bout, Dillashaw once again called out Demetrious Johnson for a superfight between the bantamweight and flyweight title holders. With Johnson’s desire for a bigger purse standing as a road block, that fight may be difficult to get done. Even so, it doesn’t sound like Dillashaw is interested in giving Garbrandt a rematch too soon.
“[Garbrandt]’s very new to this sport, he needs to work his way back up,” Dillashaw told the assembled media during the post-fight press conference. That may leave the winner of Dominick Cruz vs. Jimmie Rivera in prime position for the next chance at the belt, if the UFC can’t get Johnson to sign on the dotted line.