Team Bisping bantamweight TJ Dillashaw shares his thoughts on last night’s episode
In this edition of his blog, the unbeaten Team Alpha Male fighter talks with our lead writer E. Spencer Kyte about his coach, Michael Bisping, last night’s two fights, and his teammates calling him out for being strategic with who he wants to fight in the elimination round.
This is the Heavy MMA TUF 14 blog with TJ Dillashaw.
Kyte: The overwhelming impression for me from this week’s episode is that Michael Bisping is a bit of a dick.
Dillashaw: (laughs) Yeah.
Kyte: He’s that guy that runs his mouth a lot, and doesn’t understand why people think he’s a dick. He’s rubbing Akira’s win in Mayhem’s face, but then has his little speech later in the episode about the proper decorum after the fights and at the fight announcements. Is that a pretty fair assessment?
Dillashaw: 100 percent, but he does get a bad wrap. They did edit it and only show his part in there. On TV, yes, it definitely looks like he’s a complete dick, but like I said, I actually really like the guy, and he was a great coach.
He definitely will criticize on people, then turn around and do the exact same thing. He’s a bit of a hypocrite, but he just likes to play into the game of “If you’re going to be a smart ass, I’m going to do the exact same thing.”
Kyte: What are your impressions of Diego Brandao who fights in the first bout of the night? Everyone seems to revere him as a wrecking machine that’s going to storm through people. What was your take on him?
Dillashaw: Diego is definitely a crazy man. Not only is it his fighting style, but that’s how he gets in people’s head too. I think if Siler was so scared of Diego — which he doesn’t say he was, obviously — but if he wasn’t so scared of his mentality and the way he acts, he probably would have done better.
Backing straight up with your chin straight up in the air isn’t really a good idea for Diego’s wild, crazy hooks, you know? Not only is Diego’s fighting style crazy, but it gets into people’s heads and it worked out perfect.
Kyte: What was the root of their tension? What set that off or was it just Diego picking Siler as the guy he wanted to focus his attention on?
Dillashaw: Yeah, Siler was never angry. He was such a quiet, mellow, awesome guy; very nice. He never had a bone to pick with anybody. Diego just knew that he was going to have to fight Siler, so he just [pumped himself up] like, “I gotta hate this guy so I can bring the vengeance on him.” There was never any one thing that Siler ever did to piss Diego off; Diego just pissed himself off because he’s a very emotional guy.
Kyte: The fight lasted all of 40 seconds, so there’s not a lot to recap. Pretty much the way you expected it to go? Maybe not so quickly, but a victory for Diego was what you expected?
Dillashaw: I definitely knew Diego was going to win, but I didn’t think it was going to be that fast. I knew Siler was a very tough fighter, so I figured he could withstand some of Diego’s punishment, but he just — like I said — got scared, backed straight up, and put his chin in the air which wasn’t a good idea for someone running at you with crazy haymakers.
Kyte: The next thing we get is your part with Team Bisping sitting down trying to figure out the bantamweight match-ups. Explain it a little more — you said they shuffled things around.
Dillashaw: If you notice, there was two bantamweight fights in a row after Diego’s fight, and they’d never done that before. It was always ’45, ’35, ’45, 35; well they skipped my fight, and showed the next two fights before mine even happened.
I sat down with the coaches when we finally got to pick our fight, and I just told them, “Let’s do what they’re doing to us; put our stronger fighters against their weaker fighters.” Not saying “Prince” wasn’t a very good fighter — we even talked about it, about how much bigger he was than every other ’35-pounder there and how Dodson was the smallest ’35-pounder, and the match-ups where good.
Yeah, I also wanted to fight Roland. A lot of the guys don’t see eye-to-eye with that, but they’re a bunch of meatheads that don’t understand that the money is at the end of the competition. The contract is at the end of the competition, and risking getting hurt in the first fight isn’t the smartest thing.
This isn’t a tough man competition. If you’re going to be a fighter, you have to be smart as well, and it’s two eight-man brackets; it’s not a team thing. I could care less about what those guys think about me. I just went in there with the game plan to push myself to the finals, stay healthy, and I feel like I was the only one playing the game that we’re supposed to be playing, not being there to make the most friends.
Kyte: I’m probably a little biased because we’ve been doing this now for a couple weeks, but to me it makes sense. Like you said, it’s not the ultimate tough man competition; it’s get to the end, get that contract, and be a fixture in the UFC long term.
But you’ve got these guys on your team calling you out right away, saying you’re throwing “Prince” under the bus, taking shots at you in little solo shots. Did you get any of that up front? Did you get a freeze out? Did anyone say any of that stuff to your face?
Dillashaw: I had no idea that those guys were pissed about the way the picks went down. No one ever said anything, but I couldn’t care less what they think.
Kyte: Is it hard looking back now and seeing the way it’s all put together for the show; that these guys are talking crap about you behind your back, but not having the — to me it’s easy to call you out when you’re sitting by yourself, but then no one is actually willing to come and say it to your face.
Dillashaw: They don’t want to step up and say it because they don’t have the balls to say it. They’re the ones actually being [beeps], saying it behind my back instead of actually coming and saying it to me. Akira’s got no room to talk. He’s talking about me being a “draft dodger” and taking the easy way to the semifinals, he “fake tapped” his way to the semifinals. It doesn’t get any more [beep] than that. You fake tap then continue to fight? He’s got no room to talk at all.
Kyte: We get to the fight between “Prince” and Dodson, and to me — it’s funny watching the episode because Dodson really breaks it down pretty well. He says, “This guy’s taller than me, he’s got a bigger reach than me, he probably has better jits than me, but I’m faster and I’m still going to beat him,” and that’s really how it plays out. You see the speed difference right away.
How did you think it was going to play out? Did you think that was going to be the outcome?
Dillashaw: I haven’t really watched too many of John Dodson’s fights; I knew he was a talent guy. I just really thought that with the reach advantage that “Prince” had on him — and he’s also a very good stand-up guy — he would have been able to stay on the outside, and pick him apart when he tried to rush in. Dodson had to run at him to hit him.
Those kicks he threw at him, a lot of them didn’t have much power on them because (Dodson) had to go up so high. I was thinking that “Prince” was going to be able to take him out, but he didn’t get aggressive enough. He kind of just sat there and let Dodson throw the punches he wanted to throw, and tried to counter-punch him. When a guy is that fast, it’s too hard to hit you when he’s able to hit you twice and then get out of the way (before you throw).
I thought “Prince” could have won the fight, he just wasn’t aggressive enough.
Kyte: We get a little preview of what’s to come for you for the next round. Did you know about Roland’s foot injury going in?
Dillashaw: We get to do the fight pick, and so when we picked, I walked out there to call out Roland, and I noticed he wasn’t in line. That was the first we heard of it. He wasn’t there; he was at the doctor getting his foot checked out.
Kyte: Well we’ll get into all that next week because you’re the last fight up before the semifinals start. I look forward to that.
Dillashaw: Awesome — thanks.