T.J. Dillashaw proved himself a worthy bantamweight champion at UFC 227 on Saturday night, scoring a first-round knockout win over former champ Cody Garbrandt in Los Angeles.
The long-awaited rematch between the two fierce rivals was practically an action-replay of their first fight last November as Dillashaw prevailed, only this time he managed to do it a round earlier.
After an all-action first few minutes, Dillashaw connected with a big right hand that sent Garbrandt to the canvas. Sensing he was hurt, the champion then piled in and eventually overpowered his opponent forcing referee Herb Dean to end the fight with 50 seconds of the first round remaining.
— #UFC227 (@ufc) August 5, 2018
After the fight, Dillashaw talked about a potential fight at flyweight.
“This cements my legacy as the greatest bantamweight of all-time,” Dillashaw said. “I could tell that Cody was already hurt when we started that exchange, and then I lined up the shot. I got a little excited when I should’ve slowed down and finished him, but I got the job done. I love this game. I love to fight and I thank you all for your support. Henry Cejudo, let’s go baby!”
Dillashaw’s calling out of Cejudo came after he pulled off a surprise victory over long-standing flyweight title holder Demetrious Johnson in the co-main event.
Cejudo took Johnson the distance over five competitive rounds, matching the champion before gaining a tight split decision win 48-47, 47-48, 48-47.
It marked sweet revenge for the challenger, who had lost to Johnson in their first meeting at UFC 197 back in April 2016.
Cejudo’s victory put paid to any talk of a superfight between Dillashaw and Johnson, something that the new champion said afterwards had inspired him.
“This is a dream come true,” Cejudo said. “From Olympic gold medalist to UFC champion. I was born right here in Los Angeles, in a two-bedroom apartment, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you to these fans in California for their support. I felt very disrespected all week, with all of the talk of a superfight, so I am standing here now to say that I want the winner of the main event.”