A titanic bantamweight title showdown between TJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz will take place in the main event of UFC Fight Night 81 on January 17th in Boston.
This will be the first ever title fight to be aired live on FOX Sports 1, and what a fascinating fight to do it with.
Dillashaw is of course the reigning champion at 135lbs, having defeated Renan Barao to seize the title last year and then defeating him again back in July with a further defense again Joe Soto in-between confirming him as one of the sport’s leading pound-for-pound talents.
However, in Dominick Cruz’s mind the title is still his. He’s 11 fights undefeated and had defended the belt twice during his brief UFC run, but then became plagued with the worst series of injury set-backs in UFC history which meant he’s only competed once in the past four years and as such had to relinquish his title.
The 30 year-old Cruz is currently working his way back after his latest ACL injury and rather than taking another tune up fight first it seems he’s decided to go straight into what looks like being one of his toughest fights ever.
Given all he’s been through it almost seems unthinkable that he could compete at the same level as an on-fire champion like Dillashaw, but it would be wise not to rule out ‘The Dominator’ just yet.
After all, a year ago when he made a brief return after a three year absence he looked better than ever, taking out the crafty veteran Takeya Mizugaki in just 61 seconds, and let’s not forget the fact that it’s clearly evident that part of Dillashaw’s success has come from mimicking Cruz’s unique movement and footwork.
If Cruz can stay healthy and perform at 100% of his capabilities – and that ‘if’ can’t be emphasized enough – then we well be treated to just about as high-level a mixed martial arts match-up skill-wise as you could ever hope to see in the Octagon.