To the surprise of nobody, TJ Dillashaw says that filming for The Ultimate Fighter 25 has been filled with tension and trash talk.
Dillashaw and bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt are the head coaches for the show, and former teammates at Team Alpha Male.
Dillashaw recently appeared on “Submission Radio” to discuss TUF, Garbrandt and more.
On how grueling it is and how long it takes to shoot a show like TUF
“It will be like a six-week process and it’s non-stop, man. It’s seven days a week, just always working. And I thought I’d have more downtime, but I really don’t. I’m trying to train myself as well as coach. There is no downtime, there’s no in-between. Like, I get home late and when we’re coaching fights we’re home even later. So it’s been a lot of work, man, but I enjoy it.”
“I like coaching. I’m used to it. Feels like I could be a great coach – or I am a great coach, so I really get into it, I really enjoy it, and you learn a lot by coaching and I’m coaching an awesome season. So it’s gonna be very entertaining.”
On how he’s connecting with his fighters, having been on the show as a contestant previously
“Yeah, I’m connecting with them very strongly. You realize that you become not only a coach, but a friend to these guys. You know, you really care about how they do, and I’m gonna care about how they do even after the show. I don’t really wanna teach them things about how to win the show, but just have a successful career – It could be inside the octagon or out. So yeah, you build some really close relationships, that’s for sure.”
What the vibe and interactions with Cody have been like on the TUF set
“Oh man, there’s definitely some tension. I’m not really allowed to talk about how it goes down, but yeah, there’s definitely tension. What it comes down to is some insecurities that he has and him just being obsessed with me, really (laughs). I mean, I could care less what he’s doing and they’re just so intrigued by me. I think it comes from some insecurities. And I’ve made the right choices in my life and I’m proud of it.”
In what ways TJ believes Cody is obsessed with him
“He’s just worried about what I’m doing. Why is another grown man worried about how I live my life? You know what I mean? I was never close with him, I was never friends with him and he’s just obsessed with what I’m doing and how I’m living and what’s going on in my life. I don’t question anything of what he’s got going on cause that’s him. I could care less. You know, I just kind of feel like they’re just obsessed with what I’ve got going on.”
On Cody saying that the two would have words and if they’ve had a chance to have any conversations to work things out
“Not really squash the beef, but you know, off-camera, not on interviews, things are fine. Things are perfectly fine. We’re in rooms together and things are nothing, but as soon as the camera’s on and doing interviews, he’s the tough guy because he wants to look cool. For him it’s all about looking cool and getting his social media followers up (laughs). It’s a lot of petty stuff. He’s getting his hair lined up and his eyebrows waxed and looking as cool as he possibly can, but really I think it makes him look just kinda dumb, you know, to buy into all that. He really doesn’t have the wits behind him. He can talk, but really it’s just him getting angry. You saw with Cruz as well, he just kinda gets angry and loses it. He really doesn’t have any valid points.
On Cody saying he knocked TJ out in training and how TJ feels to have the chance to show who’s better in front of the world
“That’s what counts. I’m excited for that more than anything. He can talk whatever he wants, he can pump himself up and have to do it because he’s insecure about the situation and knows that I’m the better fighter. He can say whatever he wants, but it’s gonna come down to that night and that’s the most exciting part about it. This is what I live for. I live for these emotions and for getting out there and putting on a show and showing off to everyone.”
On how much confidence previous sparring sessions with Cody gives TJ and if he can take away anything form those sessions going into the fight
“Yes and no. It is just sparring, but it does give me a lot of confidence. I mean, I practiced against the guy. My fighter I.Q. is through the roof compared to his and it’s a lot easier for me to figure him out. And I’m very confident and excited for this fight. It’s a perfect redemption story for me.”
His advantages over Cody in the match up
“Without giving anything away, but I think just my well-roundedness. He’s a great athlete, he was a good wrestler, I feel like he has good takedown defence, but he really doesn’t really have any good like ground game. He’s quick, but I use my range better. I’m a better all-round striker, and I feel like he’s got some good boxing, but I kind of put everything together a little bit better. You know, kicks to punches, punches to wrestling, just kind of everything, blended together. I think that’s the best martial artist. We’re fighting mixed martial arts, we’re not boxing. So I think blending MMA together is the way to be the best possible fighter.”
If anything about this rivalry will be personal for TJ
“No man, I’ve learned a lot not to make things personal. I’m going out there and there’s a lot of pressure on just winning my belt back. That’s enough. I don’t need to make it personal, I need to go out there and put a smile on my face, no matter how personal he tries to make it. To me it’s about staying cool, calm and collected and that’s how I’m gonna be fighting my best.”
On TJ getting a raise from earning $50,000 (25/25 for Assuncao win) to $200,000 (100/100 for Linekar win)
“Yeah, I did sign a new contract. But also with that fight against Assuncao, there was an LOA on my contract. So there’s money that’s show publically and there’s money that’s given on the backend. I made more than what was shown. And so I think that was another reason to resign the contract because it kind of backfired on them, right? I mean, they don’t want all the fighters to know how much you’re making, but also it looks bad in the public eye as well. So yeah, I was doing better than what was shown.”
On how many fights there are in his new contract
“I think I signed an eight-fight deal”
Updates on the MMAAA
“Unfortunately, I haven’t had any updates either because I’ve been so ridiculously busy. I went straight from my fight, I didn’t get any downtime and then got called up for this Ultimate Fighter and came straight up to Vegas. So I haven’t even talked or seen my management company yet, but I’m imagining that I’ll hear something soon.”
“They’re working hard. They kind of told me that they’re working hard on it and they’re staying active, but I have so much going on and so much on my plate right now that they’re gonna update me here soon. They said they have some great news and things are going great. So that’s very positive to hear.”
When TJ expects to actually fight Cody
“Well I believe the show airs, like the first airing of the Ultimate Fighter is April 19th, so I’d imagine we wouldn’t fight until the show’s over. So that’s usually like 12 to 13 weeks of a season. So I’d imagine after that, probably like in July.”
If he’d like to have the fight on PPV or a Finale
“As far as I’ve understood, this fight’s too big to be on the finale. This is gonna be a big, hyped up fight and we’re going to get a pay-per-view card.”