TJ Dillashaw: ‘I’m always going to have something to prove’

With just weeks left before his Jan. 17 bantamweight world title defense against Dominick CruzTJ Dillashaw took time out of training camp to meet with members of the media, last month. The champ and Cruz sat on opposite sides of a conference room inside the MGM Grand Hotel, talking about one another, instead of eating, sleeping, training, or any other thing they’d ordinarily be doing so close to a fight.

Dillashaw was friendly, thoughtful and engaging the whole time, but he couldn’t deny that the extra media obligations aren’t his favorite way to spend time. One of his main antagonists lately, Conor McGregor, is actually a bit to blame according to Dillashaw.

"He’s smart. He’s making money. I don’t really like it," he admitted.

"I don’t like the fakeness of it. I don’t like the WWE aspect of the drama. I just want to be a martial artist. I got into this sport because I liked it. I like the sport. I don’t like that we have to do all this stuff. I feel like Conor has made a new job for us. We have to promote our own fights a lot more than we used to because of what he’s doing."

Of course, Dillashaw doesn’t mind extra work. His work ethic and willingness to go the extra mile are likely a big reason why he’s been able to accomplish all he has.

The champ just wants to make his work about competing, not talking. His answer to a later question from a reporter in the scrum revealed a bit about his mindset.

Dillashaw may be the defending and dominant reigning champion at 135 pounds, but he believes that he has a lot to prove against the former champ Cruz on Sunday. Furthermore, Dillashaw doesn’t ever expect to be satisfied.

"I’m always going to have something to prove, no matter who it is," he explained.

"If it’s Dominick Cruz, if it’s Urijah Faber, if it’s Thomas Almeida. Whoever it is that I’m fighting next, I’m going to have to prove myself. I’ve got a target on my back. I’m the champ. It kind of comes with the territory."