VANCOUVER – Despite earning a dominant TKO victory to win the UFC bantamweight championship this past month, T.J. Dillashaw (10-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) may have to grant Renan Barao (32-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) a rematch, said company president Dana White.
“[Dillashaw's next fight] probably will be the Barao rematch,” White told MMAjunkie prior to Friday’s weigh-ins for UFC 174 in Vancouver. “Tell me if I’m wrong. I think we sat there and we started looking through the list of guys to fight T.J., and there is a list of guys, which is a great thing, but how do you not give it to Barao, the guy who was undefeated all those years? I agree he got a five-round a– whooping and got finished, but how does it make sense to not give him the rematch? And who doesn’t want to see it?”
Dillashaw entered UFC 173 as the challenger to Barao’s longtime crown. As a huge underdog, the Team Alpha Male-trained fighter surprised Barao and the entire MMA community by delivering a striking clinic for more than four rounds before scoring a stoppage in the final frame.
Even though he was outclassed in the contest, White believes Barao’s 33-fight unbeaten streak prior to the loss is enough to earn him an immediate rematch for the gold.
“When you watch that fight last time, people were losing their minds because nobody saw that coming,” White said. “They go in there and put on an unbelievable war. Is that not what you want to see again?”
Rematches for UFC belts are not uncommon. Anderson Silva got a chance redeem a loss to Chris Weidman as recently as this past December, and Jon Jones will face Alexander Gustafsson for a second time later this year. It appears now that Dillashaw and Barao will be added to that list, likely later this year.
But White doesn’t believe rematches are overused in the UFC, and in this case believes Barao’s resume is enough to warrant a second fight with the newly-crowned champion.
“How about (boxers Manny) Pacquiao and (Juan Manuel) Marquez are going to fight for fifth f—ing time, and you think we do too many rematches?” White said. “I think if you look at a fight like Barao and Dillashaw, the guy went undefeated for 10 years and lost one fight. I want to see that fight again. [Losing again] puts Barao in a really bad spot, but then Barao gets in line and continues to fight and we see where it goes from there.”
Many believed after UFC 173 that the next championship fight in the bantamweight division would see Dillashaw attempt to avenge an October loss to contender Raphael Assuncao. However, it looks like the UFC will now we going in a different direction with Barao.
Regardless, White believes all the fights the fans want to see will eventually happen, and that includes a matchup between Dillashaw and his teammate, Team Alpha Male founder Urijah Faber.
“They’ll fight each other tomorrow,” White said. “Trust me. That fight is one of the other ones that could happen too.
“Imagine we do the Barao fight and it sets up all these fights. We’ve got Dominick Cruz in there, as well. Guess what: Everything we’re saying is a home run.”
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Renan Barao and T.J. Dillashaw)
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