Once the Middleweight championship bout between Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida was postponed to UFC 175 due to Weidman’s knee injury, it seemed all hope was lost for UFC 173. At the time, the main event was a Heavyweight title between Stipe Miocic and Junior Dos Santos.
The UFC ultimately worked some magic and got Renan Barao and TJ Dillashaw to headline UFC 173 for the Bantamweight championship. Dillashaw, in a recent interview with Combate, discussed his upcoming bout with Barao (Courtesy of BloodyElbow):
He is a great fighter, very dangerous, he is explosive and definitely will be a tough fight. I just believe that I’m a better athlete than him. I see everything that Barao can do and I know that I can rise to the occasion and I have nothing to lose. I know that I have to deal with all of the weapons that he brings to the game. He is good in all areas but I’m ready for him.
Dillashaw also commented that he is happy the bout won’t go down in Barao’s home country of Brazil:
I’m relieved about not fighting in Brazil. It’s going to be good to fight where my family and friends can watch and I won’t have to cross a continent and adapt to the time zone. I love Brazil, I have nothing against the country, but I think that I won my fight against Assunçao. I have lost in a split decision, I think the judges scored badly, and I had the feeling that I was being robbed. It’s going to be good to fight in Las Vegas because it’s a neutral territory.
TJ Dillashaw has gone 5-1 since losing the Ultimate Fighter Season 14 Finale to John Dodson back in 2011. His sole loss was the aforementioned Assuncao bout, which was a razor close split decision loss. Assuncao has won six fights in a row, but was unable to compete at UFC 173 due to a rib injury, and therefore the shot was given to Dillashaw.