What’s the price tag for a fight between teammate T.J. Dillashaw and Urijah Faber? Far less than what Faber has suggested it could be, according to UFC President Dana White. Dillashaw, the UFC’s reigning bantamweight titleholder, picked up his first title defense on Saturday in UFC 177’s pay-per-view headliner. Dillashaw (11-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) scored a fifth-round head-kick knockout of Joe Soto (15-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC), a late replacement for ex-champ Renan Barao, to provide a bright spot on an otherwise maligned card. So what’s next for Dillashaw? White has ruled out Barao, who will need another win to get the title shot he lost during Friday’s weigh-in woes.
The champ has a few other options, notably Raphael Assuncao and the winner of UFC 178’s bout between ex-champ Dominick Cruz and Takeya Mizugaki. But Faber, too, is an option, White said. Back in July, Faber, who’s ranked No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings (Dillashaw is No. 1), said it’d take a billion dollars for him to fight his Team Alpha Male teammate:
White, though, believes the actual amount would be far less. As with past speculation about a possible bout between then-champ Georges St-Pierre and teammate Rory MacDonald, White believes that if the organization ever got serious about booking the fight, it could be a real possibility.
In the end, he said, it’d be in everyone’s best interest.
“I think that when you have a team, it’s no different than Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald,” White said (watch his full post-UFC 177 media scrum below). “When you have guys who are part of a team, they train together. Tonight when they win, they’re all excited for each other. Their families are here. You don’t run around saying, ‘I’ll fight him tomorrow; I want his belt,’ and all this stuff.
“Everybody believes they can beat each other in the back of their minds because they all train together. But when it comes down to it, Faber would 100 percent fight him for way less than a billion dollars, and T.J. would fight him. It’s like Rory MacDonald is in GSP’s house, meaning his gym and everything. He’s not going to run around saying, ‘Yeah, I want GSP for the belt.’ There’s a time and place and a way to do that. You’re never going to hear guys say it publicly. They would never do that.”
So what are the actual odds of it happening? According to White, Faber, a former longtime WEC champ who’s fallen short in two UFC title shots, may be one victory away from forcing a serious conversation.
“Faber’s got to be in a position to fight for the title,” White said. “You know what I mean? He’s got to go in there and beat somebody and be in a position to fight for the title.
“And if he is, I promise you he will do it. I know he will, and I know T.J. will fight him too.” For more on UFC 177, check out the UFC Events section of the site.
(Pictured: Urijah Faber)
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