TJ Dillashaw has paid tribute to fellow UFC star Nate Diaz’s gameplan after winning his comeback fight in Las Vegas.
Controversial former bantamweight champion Dillashaw eeked out a razor-close decision win over top contender Cory Sandhagen last night, and took to the microphone to pay tribute to Diaz after the bout.
Dillashaw was asked in the post-fight press conference how he had game-planned for an opponent of the calibre of Sandhagen, who would have almost certainly earned a title fight against the winner of Petr Yan v Aljimain Sterling 2 with a win.
And he quoted the infamous pre-fight interview from when Diaz arrived at the Las Vegas airport ahead of his late notice fight with Conor McGregor, saying he wanted to “come home with a pocketful of cash”.
“I would like to quote the great Nate Diaz here,” Dillashaw said. “Get in there, hit him with some good s***, do not get hit, and come home a pocketful of cash.”
He continued to explain that he felt Sandhagen wasn’t a great counter-fighter, and says he used that knowledge to his advantage when he earned a tight split decision victory.
“You know, Coy is not like a guy who’s going to counter you,” Dillashaw explained.
“Once you get him on his bike, he starts back-pedaling, and then you can do what you want with him.
“Chop his legs up, take him down but I couldn’t use that as much as I wanted to.
“I was able to do it in the first round but I got lazy and hurt my knee so it took a lot of my game plan out of the window.”
The pair were initially supposed to share the octagon on May 8, but when Dillashaw suffered a gnarly cut in training, the bout was cancelled.
And he admitted after the bout that he had opened up another cut during training for the rescheduled date, hiding a heavy gash behind large sunglasses while speaking to reporters.
He also picked up a series of injuries that could have seen him pull out again, but said he refused to waste any more time after serving a two-year suspension for testing positive for the use of EPO ahead of his last outing in January 2019.
“I had a really, really, really rough camp,” he said at the post-fight press conference. “I couldn’t even spar this whole camp.
“The first camp going, we were supposed to go May 8, it went smooth other than getting cut – I was able to spar, my cut was going good.
“The second camp around, I could not stay healthy.
“The first injury was that I pinched this nerve in my foot doing a slider board, and up until two days ago, I had to work out with shoes on,
“This is like the worst thing I could’ve been dealing with., but then I tore my MCL in my right knee.
“I hurt my left shoulder, as well, the whole camp. It was a real rough camp.
“I didn’t want to obviously talk about it. I didn’t want to make excuses. I just needed to get out there.
“It had been too f***ing long. There was no way I was going to pull out from the fight.”