Many fight fans didn’t see this one coming. Renan Barao was just too good. He hadn’t lost since his first pro fight back in 2005, he’d finished his last three opponents, and TJ Dillashaw just wasn’t as talented as the bantamweight champion. Think again. The challenger believed:
“I told you guys I was going to take it. I had to believe in myself, I knew I was going to win. I told you it was my destiny and I had to prove it, I had to prove everyone wrong.”
And he knew the fight was his early on. “The Viper” explained:
“After the second round was over, I knew the fight was mine. I knew I was in his face and I could tell in his eyes that I had him beat, he just wasn’t the same. He wasn’t as aggressive and he just looked beat to me. He was just worried and you could see it in his eyes; I just brought more than he thought I was going to. He thought that my striking wasn’t as good as it is, and I just proved him wrong and surprised him.”
But the win came at a price. Head coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig will now leave his prized pupil behind to start his own gym away from Sacramento. Maybe not a huge loss, but many of the guys at Team Alpha Male have credited the former UFC grappler with their recent success in the octagon.