It is often very difficult to predict just about anything in the UFC. There are so many predictions that go around and most of them are usually wrong. This is because the competition is at such high level and not just that, one shot can change everything. Fighters can’t predict what their opponent is going to do, they can try but there is no way to be absolutely sure.
With that being said, being a UFC champion isn’t necessarily the safest spot to be in. Once you become the champion, all the killers of your division are gunning for your title, looking to take your head off.
If you asked me today, who I thought would be the next UFC Champion to lose their belt, I would tell you it’s TJ Dillashaw.
Dillashaw arguably has the toughest competition in front of him right now. And when I say that, I’m really only talking about one, maybe two possible opponents. And he may very well fight both of these guys before the year is out.
Henry Cejudo and ‘Magic’ Marlon Moraes. Both of these guys can defeat Dillashaw, in my opinion.
First of all, the Cejudo argument doesn’t really need much convincing and I am going to tell you why. Cejudo was the underdog vs TJ at UFC Brooklyn and went on to stop him in just 32 seconds flat. The fight was at 125 pounds, Cejudo’s weight class, yes but TJ actually fought at 149 pounds. He was on the Joe Rogan Podcast in late January, after the fight with Cejudo, where he told Rogan that he weighed in at 149 before warm-ups. He was actually two pounds heavier than what he weighed in at for the second fight with Cody Garbrandt.
My point is: many people were considering their weight as being a huge factor in this fight. Dillashaw moving down to 125, when he’s an actual 135er. But in reality, Dillashaw weighed in at 149, just before the fight. So, he actually fought heavier than his last fight with Garbrandt and was still knocked out by Cejudo in 32 seconds.
Now, enter ‘Magic’ Marlon Moraes. This guy will most likely be Dillashaw’s next opponent, after his rematch with Cejudo. Most likely, we will see Dillashaw vs Cejudo 2 during Summer 2019 and then, if Dillashaw wins there, Dillashaw/Moraes by November/December.
Moraes is a very dangerous opponent for anyone and a very tough match-up for Dillashaw. And I’m not trying to take anything away from Dillashaw, I just think this will be a huge challenge for him. Moraes is a highly skilled, calculated, explosive fighter. He seems to just go in there, fight relaxed and make it look easy. We saw what he just did with Raphael Assuncao at UFC Fortaleza in February, where he made short-work of the top bantamweight contender. Moraes won by way of guillotine choke, with just 3 minutes to go in the very first round. And Assuncao is no slouch either, we know that.
I’m not saying that TJ cannot get past Marlon Moraes. I’m not saying that he can’t get past Cejudo either. Dillashaw is an extremely talented mixed martial artist and one of the best bantamweights in the world, in my opinion. I just think that if anybody is going to give Dillashaw a serious challenge, it’s going to be those two guys.
I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens in the coming months. I believe Cejudo wanted to take some time off, after taking on two greats back-to-back, in Demetrious Johnson and TJ. Moraes is holding off on fighting for now, waiting for his well-deserved title shot. And I’m sure he suspects TJ and Cejudo will rematch at 135-pounds, so he likely won’t be back in action until late 2019. And TJ is coming off of a first-round knockout loss to Cejudo, in a fight that he was very confident about winning. So I imagine that Dillashaw is okay with taking 5-6 months off from competition, while waiting for the rematch with Cejudo.
Anyways, feel free to let me know what you think about TJ’s chances against his competition and the current state of the bantamweight division in the comments below.