T.J. Dillashaw feels he won Dominick Cruz fight at UFC Fight Night 81: “I just don’t understand”

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

T.J. Dillashaw (photo credit Bob DeChiara © USA Today Sports)

T.J. Dillashaw is no longer UFC Bantamweight Champion, dropping the title to Dominick Cruz on Sunday at UFC Fight Night 81 in a fight he truly believed he won.

He’s not alone given the close nature of the fight, and the decision is one of the more divisive and unclear results in recent memory in the UFC. After the event, Dillashaw was having a hard time wrapping his head around the decision that was read.

“Dominick’s a very good fighter,” Dillashaw said at the post-fight press conference (via MMAJunkie.com). “I do feel like I won the fight – just pressure alone, controlling the Octagon and landing the bigger strikes. I know he got a few takedowns that I don’t really feel like should be scored that great with three seconds of control total.

“I’m making him miss and hitting him again – and just knowing he didn’t have anything on his punches,” he continued. “I felt like whatever he was going to give me wasn’t very dangerous. I feel like I was coming forward and that’s how I was going to win the fight – just being the more dominant fighter and coming forward and hitting him with those big shots and landing those kicks… It’s a tough, man. It’s a tough one to take.

“I definitely feel like I won that fight. I mean, I was pushing forward, being the aggressor, landing the bigger shots. I just don’t understand how you can’t score it [for me] for that.”

Penick’s Analysis: A day later and I still believe Dillashaw won the fight, but there are so many factors to a fight like that, and those first three rounds were so close, that a 48-47 Cruz score is justifiable. I absolutely disagree with 49-46 Cruz as the final two seemed to be clear Dillashaw rounds, but again, there was a lot to this fight. Dillashaw was swinging and missing quite a bit, and “being the aggressor” doesn’t carry as much weight as he’d like to think. Cruz’s ability to avoid many of those strikes while countering was incredible, but it also may have made the two judges in favor of Cruz – and those who saw the fight for Cruz as well – miss the fact that he was still landing a considerable amount. Percentage wise it looked worse, but he landed a nearly identical amount of strikes as Cruz, and seemed to have more power and effectiveness when he did land. Regardless, it wasn’t near enough to put things in his favor without question, and the questionable nature of those rounds left it open for this result. Hopefully he gets a chance to regain that title, because that’s one of those fights absolutely worthy of a rematch.

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