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Few UFC championship fights have been as stirring – or as surprising – as TJ Dillshaw’s victory over Renan Barao for the bantamweight title in May 2014.
Dillashaw was a considerable underdog with a 10-2 professional record when he faced Barao, arguably the greatest bantamweight in MMA history, at UFC 173 in Las Vegas. Barao brought in a 34-1 record, was on a 22-fight win streak and hadn’t lost in nine years.
But Dillashaw pulled off a stunning upset, using quick hands and exceptional footwork to dominate Barao from the start before finishing him with a fifth-round TKO.
“All you have to do is believe, baby!” Dillashaw said in the Octagon. “Believe you’re the best in the world and you’ll get here!”
Dillashaw’s rise through the ranks wasn’t exactly meteoric, but he progressed quickly after turning pro in 2010.