T.J. Dillashaw has said quite a bit about the state of the flyweight division that has put a lot of people off about him. He initially bragged about taking a ‘f—k load of money’ to kill the division, and recently doubled up by saying he doesn’t care if flyweight closes down.
Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo took aim at Dillashaw, pointing out how he’d gone from trying to unionize and start the MMAAA, to being more than willing to put flyweights out of the job.
“Everybody (is rooting for me). My worst enemies. Even Joe Benavidez is cheering for me,” Cejudo said on the recent press conference (HT: MMA Fighting). “It’s at that point. This was his main training partner. He’s shaking my hand like, ‘Hey, I’m rooting for you, man.’ Like damn, this is a guy that I had bad blood with.
“This is personal,” he said. “This dude is a guy that was trying to start the union, start the union with the UFC [fighters] to getting paid a shitload of money to get rid of a division. Siccing him down to dethrone the reigning champ. T.J., I’m not doing this just for me, man. I’m doing it for everybody. I’m doing it for all the 125-pounders.
“And that’s exactly who he is. You have friends like Joe Benavidez. You have guys like ‘Shorty’ Torres. These are all flyweights, bro. Where’s your respect, man?”
Dillashaw’s former teammate Benavidez had just questioned their friendship after TJ’s comments on his division. When Cejudo prodded him about it, the bantamweight champ once again stated that he’s simply fighting for himself.
“That’s your problem,” Dillashaw told Cejudo. “I’m doing this for myself. This is a selfish sport. I’m going out there and winning for myself. I’m gonna be the greatest.
“It’s about myself, man. It’s about my legacy. It’s about feeding my family, feeding my son down there and doing what’s best for myself and doing what’s best for my legacy and being the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. I’m chasing a second belt, I’m chasing the spot. I’ll do whatever.”
Cejudo reiterated that he’s trying to win and hopefully try to save the division that the UFC seems to be set on dissolving.
“This is much bigger than me,” Cejudo said. “This is for the guys, this for the all the flyweights that are not big enough to make 135 pounds. I’m fighting for those guys. I’m fighting for their family.
“I have flyweights that actually live with me. Every time I wake up in the morning, I start to think about them. Like damn, these guys have helped me become the best in the world and I want to kind of return the favor for them.”
Cejudo called this a “Hail Mary,” as he tries to save the flyweight division with an impressive win over the bantamweight champion. Can he defend his belt on Saturday night? Will that even matter and affect the UFC’s decision?