When you beat an MMA great, you become one.
That is the case for TJ Dillashaw, who put on a mystical performance, stopping Bantamweight champion Renan Barão during the fifth round of their UFC 173 encounter.
Barão wasn’t really there, and he put on a poor performance. That’s one way to delineate what happened on Saturday night.
Or maybe, TJ Dillashaw didn’t follow the script. Following in the footsteps of his compatriot, Chris Weidman, who destroyed Anderson Silva at UFC 162.
Renan Barão was coming off a first round destruction of Uriah Faber, and, even if some feel it was halted to early, the Brazilian looked impressive enough to pen him a top-five ranking in most pound-for-pound lists.
Then, TJ Dillashaw took that accolade, and the UFC Bantamweight championship, away from Barão. He, in fact, landed more significant strikes than Barão landed altogether (140;68) By the beginning of the fifth round, it was clear that Dillashaw had out struck Barão round by round, and he didn’t leave a smidgen of doubt, still, he closed the show midway through round five.
The options now are limited for Dillashaw. Frankly, I don’t feel the fight between him and Barão was even remotely competitive enough to warrant an immediate rematch, and the #2 ranked contender — Uriah Faber — is a close friend and founder of Team Alpha Male, where Dillashaw trains.
Two viable options for Dillashaw would be Raphael Assuncao and Takeya Mizugaki.
Assuncao holds a split-decision win over Dillashaw from last year which I’m certain TJ would like to avenge. Assuncao is also on a six-fight win streak in the UFC.
Mizugaki is one of the other top ten fighters who hasn’t recently suffered a defeat to either Barão or Faber. Mizugaki is on a five-fight win streak, and most recently beat Francisco Rivera at UFC 173.
In the mean time, Barão is ranked number 1 at Bantamweight. He can take an interim fight and prepare for another crack at Dillashaw if he can beat a fellow contender impressively.
Dillashaw, for now, has the world in his hands, and his dream has come true.
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.