“I am the best bantamweight of all time. Here, right now,” TJ Dillashaw said following the second of back-to-back victories over Cody Garbrandt at UFC 227 on Saturday in Los Angeles.
Though Dillashaw's record stands at 16-3 and he has been rather impressive with his wins over Garbrandt, two wins over longtime bantamweight champion Renan Barao, and exacting revenge on Raphael Assuncao for an earlier split-decision loss, Dominick Cruz takes umbrage with his claim to be the best bantamweight ever.
“The problem is, I beat him already. You can’t be the best unless you beat the guy that beat you,” Cruz said on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show on ESPN. “It’s just common sense. Everybody in the world knows that, including him.”
Cruz and Dillashaw met in a tough five-round battle in January 2016 with Cruz winning a split decision and taking back the belt that he was stripped of because of inactivity due to multiple injuries.
After then defending the belt against Urijah Faber, Cruz lost it to Garbrandt via unanimous decision at the end of 2016. That's when Dillashaw stepped into the picture and took the belt from Garbrandt, his former teammate at Team Alpha Male.
Regardless of whom is considered the best bantamweight ever, Cruz believes that it's not Henry Cejudo's time to jump up a weight class and get a fight with Dillashaw. Cejudo narrowly escaped with the belt in a split-decision victory over longtime champion Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227 and then called for the fight at bantamweight. Cruz believes that, returning from injury, it is his time to step in and challenge Dillashaw.
Cruz hasn't had a fight since losing the belt to Garbrandt, but considering his history with Dillashaw, he thinks it's time for him to get a shot at getting his belt back.
“I know I deserve that title shot,” said Cruz, “because I defended that title more times than anyone in the history of the division.”