T.J. Dillashaw’s Ultimate Fighter 14 Blog: Episode 7

TJ Dillashaw

Botter: We start off with more talk of last week. I thought it was interesting that they even called the episode “Draft Dodger,” alluding to everyone complaining last week that you wanted an easy road to the finals. What do you make of them focusing on that request?

Dillashaw: It’s kind of funny the way they completely switch how they feel about things from season to season. If you recall on season two, I know it was a long time ago, but Burkman called out Melvin Guillard. Nobody wanted to fight him, but Burkman said “I’ll fight him.” They go out there and have a good fight, Burkman wins a close decision, but Melvin ends up breaking Burkman’s arm with a kick. And so Dana White is furious. He’s pissed that the number one and number two seeds of the entire tournament are out on the first fight because they’re being tough guys and wanted to call out the number one guy.

So for me, watching that, I kind of wanted to win this competition. I knew the stakes from previous seasons. I went in there with a game plan of wanting to work my way up to the toughest guy in the finals. I wanted to try and carry that out. But what also makes me mad, too, is that Roland is not that easy of an opponent. They’re making it seem like I have a bye through this tournament where Roland is an automatic win for me. Roland is a very tough opponent. He was very well-rounded, and there was no way I could look past him, because that would get me beat.

Botter: What did you make of Akira and Diego doing their rant to the camera about teaching you a lesson during sparring the next day?

Dillashaw: I thought it was bullshit. I never even felt a change during practice from those guys. They showed that part of me and Diego rolling, but that happened way earlier. Sure, Diego tapped me twice, but it happened over two weeks! He got two taps on me throughout six weeks of training. I’m not bashing on his jiujitsu, because he’s a very good black belt. Why I am angry that he tapped me? He could have hurt me if he wanted to, but he let go of the submission. It was all talk. Akira made me go harder in the sparring session that we had, but he was wearing MMA gloves and I was wearing 16oz gloves. He probably threw punches harder than he should have, which is dangerous and kind pissed me off a little bit.

Botter: Why do you think they edited it to make it seem like all of this happened in one day?

Dillashaw: Because Diego and Akira were both there, talking about how they were going to teach me a lesson. So they go through the training sessions and find any part they can where Diego is going hard on me or where he got something on me. They don’t show all of the times where I beat up on them as well. Everybody gets the better of someone else in practice. That’s why it’s practice.

Botter: What it is about training with Joseph and Urijah that give you a leg up on everyone else in the house?

Dillashaw: I think it’s how smart we train. They’ve been there and done that, so they know what they need to do to give me the fast track in getting better. I learn from their mistakes and learn from the things they’ve done well. Just the fact that they have been fighting for so long, they can give me good strategies and good workout tips. They just push me along.

Botter: I know you said Roland isn’t a pushover, but when it came down to the actual fight, it was a completely dominant win. How happy were you with your performance on that day?

Dillashaw: I definitely executed my plan very well. I can always pick myself apart. You are your own biggest critic. There were a couple of times when I probably relaxed, when I got too tired in certain situations. But ultimately it went down the way I thought it was going to. I kept the pressure up and tried to break him. I used my hands to set up my takedowns to set up my hands and used my takedowns to set up my hands. LIke Mayhem said, he was too worried about my takedowns to stand there and strike for me. I was too fast for him.

Botter: I wanted to ask you about the fight announcements at the end. One of the interesting things to me was Bryan Caraway’s reaction to having to fight Diego in the semi-finals. As someone who has trained with Bryan in the past, why do you think he reacted the way he did? It certainly seemed like he did not want to fight Diego.

Dillashaw: Like he said, he believed that he and Diego were the best fighters in the weight class. That’s just a tough matchup. He obviously wants to fight someone weaker so he can push himself to the finals. Maybe not a weaker opponent, but someone who is better strategically. Maybe go against a striker or go against someone he could apply his will on a little more. But when you see the disgust on his face, he’s already trying to beat himself right there, when, really, he’s a tough fighter. They are two tough opponents.

Botter: At the end, we saw a sneak preview for next week, and it looks like the pranks really escalate. I think I saw a donkey and a mariachi band. Should fans be looking forward to that?

Dillashaw: Once again, excellent fights are going to come along with excellent pranks. Like the preview said, this will probably be one of the best pranks that the Ultimate Fighter has ever seen. It’s an epic prank. It’s good.

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