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MMA Squared: TJ Dillashaw’s reinvention and how to market Gregor Gillespie

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Taking a minute to marvel at what we see each time TJ Dillashaw steps into the octagon and an elevator pitch for the greatest fisherman in MMA.

Welcome to MMA Squared! Do you remember UFC 173? TJ Dillashaw challenged Renan Barao for the bantamweight title on a one fight win streak. The former wrestle boxer showed a series of odd stances and proceeded to end Barao’s career.

While any win would have been impressive for the underdog, Dillashaw instead showcased an amazing array of striking attacks that baffled the champ and electrified the crowd.

Mind-melding with his coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig, his footwork became captivating and he seemed to leap into superior angles while his opponents were flat footed and stunned.

Anyone who watched MMA in the early 00’s can still hear cornermen screaming ANGLE! ANGLES!!!

A Neo-Footwork Danceoff with Domick Cruz saw Dillashaw lose his title. Despite the close split decision, the UFC seemed to favor Cruz facing Cody Garbrandt who was a perfect media foil for the Dominator.

I drew this in 2016, so it’s not quite the same style.

While they battled, Dillashaw went through the Raphael Assuncao and John Lineker meatgrinder, each time emerging victorious. Restrained, tactical, and relying on his wrestling, he marched back to the title.

Dillashaw’s takedowns of Lineker are a thing of beauty.

A pair of fights with Garbrandt saw Dillashaw emerge victorious twice via KO, but here’s a curious detail about Garbrandt’s Ryan Bader moment* when Garbrandt stormed in for his “throw the same punch over and over” tactic.

A split second before Garbrandt’s doomed attack, Dillashaw struck a pose that looked like something you’d see in a Fred Ettish fight. Dillashaw has transcened his wrestle boxer beginnings into a fighter who is both flashy and workmanlike within the same striking exchange.

TJ and Bang are putting together one of the most exciting careers in the UFC and possibly the best bantamweight the sport has seen. POSSIBLY.

And for the real reason you’re here; Gregor Gillsepie. The greatest fisherman in MMA. The man can FIGHT, so can we just accept his gimmick and shout it from the mountaintop?

Enjoy the fights, this dry spell has been a rough one. Take care of yourself and I’ll talk to you tomorrow with the Friday Caption Contest. Chris.