TJ Dillashaw Explains why Cody Garbrandt ‘Cannot be Called a Champ’

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T.J. Dillashaw
Image Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP

UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw was recrowned at UFC 217 following an impressive display against arch-rival Cody Garbrandt. Having worked his way back into title contention following impressive wins over Rafael Assuncao and John Lineker, Dillashaw is reluctant to fold to claims by Garbrandt that he deserves an immediate rematch.

“Oh man, he’s [Garbrant’s] got a tough road ahead of him,” Dillashaw told BJPenn.com. “He’s got some guys in the weight class that are going to definitely challenge him. We’ll see if he can get through them. I think he was a little hyped up [before our fight]. He had a great fight against Cruz. He’s a great fighter, very fast, very explosive and powerful, but just ahead of him, so we’ll see. I feel like he’s gotta earn his spot. I lost a split decision victory to Dominick Cruz where, not only me, but the UFC thought I won that fight and it took me two years to get that fight back, you know what I mean. It’s one of those things where I had to work my way back. Had to beat two number one contenders to get my shot.”

“I was ranked number one to beat two guys that were ranked number two, we’ll see if he can work his way back,” Dillashaw continued. “He never even defended the belt. He beat Cruz, he had a great fight, but he never even defended it, so I mean, you can’t even really, really even be called champ without defending your belt.”