TJ Dillashaw’s Ultimate Fighter Blog: Episode 4

TUF’s bantamweight Alpha Male talks about last night’s episode

Last night’s episode featured a pair of fights, one from each division.

While the weight classes were different, the winning team was not, as Team Mayhem scored victories in both to remain undefeated this season.

Our TUF blogger TJ Dillashaw of Team Bisping was not one of last night’s losers, but he’s here to talk about the episode with our lead writer, E. Spencer Kyte

This is the Heavy MMA Ultimate Fighter Blog, Episode 4

Kyte: Louis (Gaudinot) lets Bisping know that the next match-up is going to be Dennis versus Stephen, reminding everyone that your team is getting information from John Dodson. What’d you think of the match-up?

Dillashaw: Mayhem’s smart; he’s picking his strong guys, the guys that are going to make it the furthest, and putting them against our weaker guys. Not saying that we have weak guys on the team, but they’re just not the toughest guys. That’s the game plan: push your tough guys to get them further along. Get them an easier fight in the beginning if you can, and get them ready for the semis.

It was a good match-up, Bermudez against a guy that wasn’t as good at wrestling.

Kyte: That’s the direction your coach takes with Bass in the training, focusing on the wrestling, and doing a hard training session so that he can be prepared. We actually see you at one point when you punch Bass in the face when he grabs your leg as Bisping’s yelling at him to get up.

What did you think of the training methods?

Dillashaw: I think that he did just fine. I think it was maybe a problem where Bass maybe came into the season a little under-trained, so it made those three, five minute rounds a lot harder. If I’m going into a fight — yeah, I like to rest — but if you’re going against someone where you really need to work on something, than you really need to work on it.

He came in under-trained, like I said. You should be able to do eight, five minute rounds before your fight if you’re in good shape, and at the end of two he was tired. I think Bisping did the right thing. He didn’t push him too hard, and it showed two different workouts into one, making it look even harder and a little more dramatic than it was too.

Kyte: As we get into the fight, we see it goes the way everybody thought it was going to go, with Dennis dominating with his wrestling. Was that your assessment as well?

Dillashaw: I think Dennis is one of the strongest ’45s, and Bass wasn’t one of the best ones. Once again, matching your good guy against one that is not as good; that’s the game plan. We knew it was going to happen. Obviously Bass didn’t think so — you’ve got to believe in yourself before you step in that cage — but everybody else knew the way it was going to go.

Kyte: Bisping’s a little pissed off afterwards and talks to the team about guys not following the game plan, even going back to Josh Ferguson’s flying knee attempt the week before. Has it really just been a case of guys not paying attention so far?

Dillashaw: I think it really comes down to the lack of competing. Yes, I only have four fights, but I’ve been competing my entire life in wrestling. You learn to come up with a game plan, you scout people out, and you go into that fight with a game plan that helps you win that fight.

When you don’t have that sense of knowing how to compete, you go to instincts, and you do what you’ve always done in training. Bisping didn’t get very long to train with Bass before his fight, and it’s hard to be able to change a guy’s entire style, especially when he’s not used to game plans.

Kyte: We get a second fight announcement — Dustin Pague vs. Louis Gaudinot. Both teams, as you’d expect, think it’s a great match-up for their guy. When I was watching it, I thought it was a horrible match-up for Louis; tall guy with good striking against the short guy with good wrestling.

Dillashaw: That’s the thing: Louis didn’t actually have any wrestling. Louis is a ’25-pounder; he’s a small guy. He’s a well-rounded fighter, but he’s not super-great at any one thing. Dustin Pague’s a big fighter, once again, picking a better guy. Yeah, sure, we did pick Louis first, but I think that was a bad pick after I started training with the guy. It’s just picking a better guy to fight a weaker guy, and better strategy.

I think Mayhem did a better job of looking everybody up before the fights were actually going to happen. Yeah, he had control so he was able to pick that up, but even when he picked his initial team, I think he did a better job of scouting who he wanted. Louis wasn’t as good as Bisping thought he was.

Kyte: That was something I wanted to touch on. You mentioned in the second one of these we did that you didn’t think some of the picks your coach made were the picks you would have made. Not to throw your team under the bus necessarily, but who are the guys that you identify as the strongest in the bantamweight group right now?

Dillashaw: I think Mayhem has the strong team at ’35. I feel like we didn’t pick our fighters very well. Not talking crap on anybody because every fighter was good; it was a very talented season with a lot of tough guys. Louis was good, but I think Pague’s a very good fighter. His stand-up is one of the best.

Then you’ve got Johnny Bedford — he’s been around forever, got a lot of experience. John Dodson trains at an excellent camp, and came in there with a great mental mindset of knowing what to do. I think Mayhem has the better team at ’35, other than myself, of course.

Kyte: Of course. The second fight goes the way I expected it to go, and I think when people saw Pague had nearly a one-foot reach advantage, they’ll think the same thing. Pretty much the way you expected things to go once they got in there?

Dillashaw: Yeah. I can’t reiterate enough how much it goes off the match-up. Push your good guys to fight the weaker guys. Even though Louis was our first pick, he wasn’t the strongest. Obviously, he didn’t pick me because he knew I would be a harder fight against Dustin Pague; I’d beat him and then we’d get control, and we would get to do what we wanted to do. That was their mindset.

Kyte: How frustrating is it being on the sidelines and having your fate in terms of who you’ll fight and when you’ll fight in the hands of the other team right now?

Dillashaw: It’s tough. That’s probably the main reason I helped my teammates as much, and tried to tell them stuff I thought they should do to help them win the fight, because I wanted them to win so we could control the fights.

It sounds kind of selfish, but that’s what this is all about; it’s about yourself, getting yourself to the finals. I would help these guys out to help myself out. If we win, hopefully I get to control who I get to pick to fight. Yeah, we’re Team Bisping, but ultimately, I’m here for Team Dillashaw.

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