Dillashaw lost to Sterling via second-round TKO at UFC 280 just weeks ago. He reaggravated a shoulder injury and wasn’t able to deal with Sterling’s grappling and ground-and-pound barrage as the fight went on.
Dillashaw, who before a two-year USADA suspension held the bantamweight belt, has been a fixture of the division for years. He’s seen many top contenders come and go during his tenure and knows promise when he sees it.
As he begins his shoulder rehab and watches the bantamweights from afar, he feels two contenders can give Sterling the most fits in the Octagon.
TJ Dillashaw Tabs Merab Dvalishvili, Henry Cejudo To Beat Aljamain Sterling
During a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Dillashaw pointed to someone in Sterling’s inner circle who could get the better of him.
“I think his teammate Merab beats him,” Dillashaw said. “He does have some strengths. There’s guys at the top that he can beat because of their grappling isn’t where it should be. Maybe I’m just thinking about it personally and how I match up against him.”
Merab Dvalishvili has won eight fights in a row, including recent victories over former title challenger Marlon Moraes and José Aldo. He’s hinted at a possible move to flyweight and has shut down the idea of facing Sterling in the Octagon.
Dillashaw then opined whether or not his old foe, Henry Cejudo, could defeat Sterling.
“Yes, easily. I think that’s a great matchup for Henry Cejudo,” Dillashaw said. “He’s just got the wrestling pedigree, and his striking is a lot better than Aljamain’s. Aljamain doesn’t have much structure. I guess his funkiness works for him… I just think Cejudo’s more well-rounded, has more threats. And I don’t think he can out-wrestle him, so that’s a problem.”
Cejudo is a much more likely matchup to come to fruition than Dvalishvili. He has been linked to a targeted matchup against Sterling at UFC 284, though Sterling sounds as if he’s about to take some time off. Additionally, Sterling and Dvalishvili have a close relationship and have spoken out against fighting one another.
If the UFC opts to book an interim title fight, Cejudo could very well be a fixture of that booking. He’s pitched the idea of facing top contender Sean O’Malley for an interim belt as Sterling rests.
Despite his past with Cejudo, Dillashaw thinks he and Dvalishvili stand the best chance of upending the bantamweight king.
Do you agree with TJ Dillashaw? Would Merab Dvalishvili and Henry Cejudo both defeat Aljamain Sterling?
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