"When T.J. Dillashaw stepped into the Octagon at UFC 173 in May, he was one of the heaviest underdogs in UFC title fight history as he took in incumbent champion Renan Barao, who was riding a 30-plus fight undefeated streak that lasted for nearly a decade.
"The writing on the wall said Dillashaw didn't even belong in the same cage with Barao, much less that he had an actual chance of winning. Dillashaw came up under Urijah Faber and looked at the former WEC champion as a mentor, but Barao dispatched him with relative ease on two occasions. So how was the student supposed to outwork the teacher against an impossibly tough puzzle to solve?
"Well, Dillashaw found the exact science to dismantle Barao, starting with a huge shot in the opening round that rattled the Brazilian, and for the next four rounds, he took more punishment than virtually every other title fight he had combined since coming to the UFC. By the time the fifth round started, Dillashaw was coasting toward victory, but instead of just getting his hand raised, he went out and finished Barao to put an exclamation point on his performance."