LAS VEGAS — It looks as if T.J. Dillashaw will be defending his UFC bantamweight title against the guy he just won it from. And that doesn’t bother him one bit.
"I don’t want to pick and choose," Dillashaw told FOX Sports on Wednesday morning after a visit to Sunrise Children’s Hospital. "I don’t want to be one of those diva champions."
The UFC is targeting a rematch between Dillashaw and Renan Barao for UFC 177 on Aug. 30 in Sacramento, according to a report from UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani later Wednesday. The bout would be in Dillashaw’s hometown just three months after he won the title from Barao at UFC 173 on May 24.
"If he’s the biggest draw, then let’s bring it," Dillashaw said. "Obviously I have the game plan to beat him and I have the skills to beat him. "
Dillashaw (10-2) didn’t just beat Barao the first time. He dominated him, which is why some pundits were not a fan of the immediate rematch. Barao (32-2, 1 NC) had won 34 fights in a row before losing to Dillashaw, though, and UFC president Dana White made the point that Dillashaw rocked Barao in the first round and Barao was never the same afterward. Dillashaw ended up finishing Barao by TKO in the fifth.
Another fight that interests Dillashaw is one with Raphael Assuncao, who was actually supposed to be the No. 1 contender in the spring before he got hurt and Dillashaw took his place against Barao. Assuncao beat Dillashaw by split decision last October and also defeated Pedro Munhoz at UFC 170 in February. Dillashaw believes he was robbed by the judges the first time, which is why he still wants another crack at Assuncao.
"I won that fight and I would love to get it back obviously," Dillashaw said. … "I do want to fight Assuncao. If not next, he’ll come."
It looks like it almost certainly won’t be next. Dillashaw is going to have to get ready for Barao once again. He doesn’t mind. The UFC probably could have offered him Cain Velasquez and he would have accepted.
"I want to fight whoever they throw at me," Dillashaw said. "I want to be the guy they can count on."