(This post originally appeared on MMAFrenzy.)
When people talk about the best fighter we’ve seen to date, names like Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and Georges St-Pierre get mentioned. But, according to one of the most respected striking coaches in the game, TJ Dillashaw is the most skilled martial artist yet…
Yes, if you’re a hardcore fan, then you’ve likely already guessed that the man who posited this argument is Duane Ludwig. Dillashaw has been training with Ludwig for several years now, and the success they’ve had is pretty significant. After all, Dillashaw has won the UFC’s bantamweight title twice.
Well, following the champ’s memorable, first round stoppage win over Cody Garbrandt earlier this month, Ludwig spoke with MMA Fighting. While discussing the abilities of Dillashaw, “Bang” said this:
“He just has so many ways to finish the fight,” Ludwig said. “A lot of people say that, but they’re not on T.J.’s level. He’s literally at another level of martial arts. His martial arts skillset is the highest any human has ever had — ever.
“That’s what he is. He is the man. He is the current, modern-day, real-life Bruce Lee.”
That is some lofty praise indeed. Now, some folks will automatically toss out the biased flag here, since Dillashaw trains under Ludwig, and the two are close friends. But, even if you don’t believe the champ is the most skilled martial artist of all time, you can’t argue that Dillashaw isn’t in the best pound-for-pound fighter debate right now. After all, this is a guy who has defeated the likes of Cody Garbrandt, Raphael Assuncao, John Lineker, and Renan Barao. Then of course, there’s the fact that Dillashaw has outstanding striking, great wrestling, and cardio for days.
Ludwig also weighed in on what he’d like to see, in terms of Dillashaw’s next fight. The coach hopes the UFC signs on with Dillashaw moving down to 125 to challenge the new flyweight champ, Henry Cejudo. Dillashaw seems to be on board with that idea as well; although, Cejudo is pushing for the fight to be at 135.
Will that fight happen? It would be kind of surprising if it did anytime soon. Dillashaw has challengers in Marlon Moraes and Dominick Cruz waiting in the wings.