TJ Dillashaw may have lost in 32 seconds to Henry Cejudo on Saturday night at the first ever UFC on ESPN card from Brooklyn but he refuses to accept defeat.
The end of the fight game in blistering fashion after Cejudo blasted Dillashaw with a head kick and then followed that up with a clubbing right hand that put the bantamweight champion down the mat early in the opening round.
Cejudo swarmed on him with a barrage of punches, forcing referee Kevin McDonald to swoop in and stop the fight before Dillashaw took any further damage.
At the post fight press conference, an emotional Dillashaw protested the stoppage while claiming that he refuses to believe that he actually lost to Cejudo in his attempt to become a two-division UFC champion.
“It sucks to have it stolen from you,” Dillashaw said. “I worked my butt off. I’m so much better than that and it’d be nice to actually get the chance to show it. It’s a title fight. It’s a champ vs. champ fight and you’re going to stop the fight like that? I’m in on a single leg. He said ‘show me something’, I said ‘I’m OK’. I’m on a single leg in a scramble, he stops punching he’s defending a single leg and you’re going to stop the fight? It’s just ridiculous.
“It’s pretty pathetic that I have better knowledge than that ref. If I’m going to lose, I want to lose. I want to lose if I’m going to lose. Congratulations Henry Cejudo, awesome, great, awesome job but you did not win. You did not win this fight. I am happy to accept defeat but I did not lose.”
For his part, UFC president Dana White agreed with Dillashaw on the stoppage but he still gave Cejudo credit for a job well done.
“I thought it was an early stoppage, too,” White said. “You’ve got two of the best guys in the world, two world champions in a super fight. Let them fight. Let them finish. I’m not taking anything away from Cejudo cause the fight went 20 seconds and Cejudo busted him up. I’m sure when you saw him sitting here, he looks like was in a three round fight but Jesus Christ, let them fight. Horrible stoppage.”
Obviously, Cejudo disagreed with both Dillashaw and White on their assessment about the end of the fight and the referee’s stoppage.
Cejudo claims that he felt Dillashaw go completely limp after the last punch that he landed before the referee stepped into between them to call an end to the contest.
The reigning 125-pound king believes things would have only gotten worse for Dillashaw if the fight was allowed to continue.
“It was a great stoppage. I felt his body go limp,” Cejudo said. “I went in at 146 pounds when I fought him, strong. Every blow that he took, he was eating some hammers. Personally, I thought it was a good stoppage because he was going to take another 10, 20 hits. Your body goes limp like that, you cut weight like that, thinking you’re going to go out there and take my belt from me, that’s not the way it works. I think it was a great stoppage.
“If I was to talk to that ref, you’re OK, we were both in there. We saw him go limp a few times. Watch it again. You’ll see it.”
While the future of the flyweight division remains in question as White wouldn’t commit to what would happen next at 125 pounds, it was clear that Dillashaw felt like he had unfinished business in the weight class.
“This s—t needs to happen again at flyweight,” Dillashaw said while asking for a rematch with Cejudo. “This is bulls—t. I worked my ass off for 12 weeks to get here to have it stolen from me in 30 seconds.”
Cejudo said he may be open to a rematch against Dillashaw at flyweight but obviously he would prefer going up to 135 pounds to challenge for the bantamweight title instead.
White wasn’t ready to play matchmaker in any way, shape or form on Saturday night despite the way he felt about the end of the main event.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” White stated.