UFC Vegas 32: Urijah Faber reacts to TJ Dillashaw's split-decision win over Cory Sandhagen

TJ Dillashaw kicks Cory Sandhagen in the main event of UFC Vegas 32 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas

Urijah Faber believes TJ Dillashaw has 'a legit champion mentality' after defeating Cory Sandhagen as the American UFC fighter showed no signs of any potential ring rust in his comeback fight.

The Californian upset the odds on his Octagon return at UFC Vegas 32 courtesy of a split decision at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and former WEC featherweight champion Faber says Dillashaw has maintained the same winning mentality he instilled in himself as UFC bantamweight champion.  

Watching Dillashaw in action, he told Submission Radio that he was impressed with what he saw on Saturday night.

“I thought it was an awesome fight, first off," he said. "I mean, I know T.J. as well as anyone, and that guy is in there ’till death does he part in the ring – which I think is a good way to be when you’re all in on something.

"But yeah, it was super exciting. I was actually ringside. I came back out and watched, and I didn’t want to miss that one, and I thought it was an awesome fight.

"I mean, from where I was standing, I thought there were a couple of different ways. I thought Sandhagen would have got the nod based on him doing damage and landing the bigger punches and a lot more, I would say.”

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However, Faber insisted that Dillashaw didn't have it all his own way against 'The Sandman' Sandhagen, who had won his past two fights against Frankie Edgar and Marlon Moraes respectively. 

“The one thing that T.J. had going for him was he was definitely in Sandhagen’s face,” the 42-year-old added. “Which he has to be, trying to close the gap on a long, lanky guy like that and pushing the fight pace.

"And then he had a lot of attempts and control time in the in-betweens of grappling or trying to grapple. I mean, he didn’t do much damage in those situations, other than the first round, but he was initiating.

“And so it depends if you’re looking at it like, hey, Sandhagen thwarted all his takedown attempts and did well in the clinch, etc.

"But T.J. was at least putting in the effort to get into those positions and spending a lot of time in there. So, I think that’s probably why he got the nod, because of the intent and the aggression and the forward motion.

"But Sandhagen definitely landed the more damaging shots, and I’d probably would say was landing more punches. But I haven’t looked at the punch stats.”

TJ Dillashaw punches Cory Sandhagen in the face in the main event of UFC Vegas 32 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas

Faber, who turns 43 in May 2022, also dismissed suggestions that Dillashaw looked out of sorts on his comeback in front of a small crowd at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

He continued: “He looked like the same guy. I mean, look, in the aftermath of having the guy on the team and then leaving the team and me always being dark on everything, I know a lot more stuff than most people do about the whole situation.

"But the one thing I can say is, the reason he’s cheating is because he’s a competitor. Like, not a fair competitor. He’s a cheap-shot guy. He’s a, you know, whatever it is.

"But the guy’s whole intent and focus is to win, and if someone’s a cheater because they don’t believe in themselves, that’s one thing. But if somebody does an actual assessment of what they need to gain, whether it be conditioning or strength or whatnot, and then cheat because of that, there’s a big difference.

"One is a mental weakness, and the other one is being a crafty cheat – you know, to gain financial and fame and whatever else, and he was able to do that.

“The layoff, I think he used the time well and came back with, the same guy he always has, as an older guy who put on some size and whatever else he’s been doing throughout the years.

"He’s bigger than he was when he started in the sport, and I think it plays to his favour, and he’s always a competitor. I mean, that’s a legit champion mentality guy when it comes to competing.”

Read more: TJ Dillashaw wants to erase doubts about his UFC career with win over Cory Sandhagen

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