What the hell was that?
TJ Dillashaw’s complete thrashing of Renan Barao was one of the biggest upsets ever (that actually should go without saying). I’m not sure I’ve ever watched anybody else execute their gameplan like that against such a formidable champion like the one in Barao, a guy that hadn’t lost in about a decade. Dillashaw’s footwork was masterful and the way he mixed up his punches and kicks to confuse Barao was some unprecedented ingenuity. He looked like a damn veteran kickboxer. In all of my years of watching MMA, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a more inspiring performance.
Nobody — including me — gave him a chance, and he shocked the world. (Also, the guy has the coolest initials in the world for his first name (just sayin’).)
Barao didn’t just lose, he got dominated. By the point that he was on the stool before the fifth round it was clear that Barao was mentally broken. He looked badly distressed while sitting in the corner. That was the kind of loss that kills your spirit and forces you to readapt and rekindle it or (career wise) perish. Barao is a beast, and I’m sure he’ll be back stronger than ever.
In the co-main event, as expected Daniel Cormier demolished Dan Henderson. But he did a good job of selling himself as a contender for Jon Jones. Cormier was so dominant in throwing Henderson around and beating on him, that he appeared to choke Henderson unconscious out of frustration with the ref more than anything. After landing a series of punches to a turtled Henderson, Cormier looked at the ref, seemingly annoyed, and locked in the choke.
Henderson is not young, he’s taken a ton of punishment in recent years and he no longer can use the TRT that extended his career. He may have said after the fight that his career isn’t over, but we’re getting very close to the day that decision has to be made.