mma / News

Raphael Assuncao Says T.J. Dillashaw Needs to Defend His Title

January 31, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Raphael Assuncao

Raphael Assuncao spoke with MMAjunkie ahead of his fight with Marlon Moraes at UFC on ESPN+ 2. Highlights are below:

On TJ Dillashaw possibly rematching Henry Cejudo: “The champion needs to get his stuff together and defend his title. Now they’re talking about a title defense against Cejudo, so that kind of complicates things a little bit. … I think T.J. should’ve stayed at his weight and done what he was supposed to do at 135. He went down to 125, and now I’m sure he regrets what happened. He should’ve stayed at his weight class and taken responsibility at his weight class. Just like when I should’ve fought for the title before and Cody (Garbrandt) took my place, and it didn’t go well twice for him. In the back of my mind, I don’t want to be a hater, but it’s like, ‘See, that’s what you get.’ It should’ve been my turn. Same with T.J. That’s what you get when you should’ve defended your own title.”

On his new UFC deal: “I got a new contract, got a new deal. A little bit more money – not substantial, but we were renegotiating, and the main event was offered. For me, it’s not just about being the main event, it is a lot of eyes on us. It proves me. If I’m going to be a champion, this is a good start of a proving ground being a main-event fight. It was also part of the finalization of negotiations in my new contract.”

On how he stacks up with Moraes: “The physical attributes are going to be similar because we know each other physically, but as MMA fighters we are constantly changing and improving and a lot of factors come into play. I don’t think it will be the exact fight. Obviously it will not be the exact fight, but I look at it is a whole different fight. My approach is all different. His approach is probably totally different, so I’m prepared for an all new fight.”

On a title shot with a win: “I’m resilient; I’m pretty positive it’s going to work out my way. I do have the expectation of being in a No. 1 contendership fight. I’ve mentioned and I’ve hoped and I’ve been in this situation many times. Hopefully this time it’s going to work. Right now the task at hand is Marlon Moraes once again. That’s all my focus right now. But obviously in the very back of my mind, I have the contendership fight.