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TJ Dillashaw makes weight for UFC Brooklyn, but how will his body respond Saturday?

UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw appears at a

UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw appears at a news conference in Brooklyn on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Credit: Newsday / Ryan Gerbosi

TJ Dillashaw clearly was bothered by the volume of questions he received regarding his first career weight cut to 125 pounds.

At Friday’s weigh-ins ahead of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night at Barclays Center, Dillashaw, the reigning bantamweight champion at 135 pounds, was the first fighter to appear. He confidently took the scale and weighed in at 124.6 pounds. Dillashaw lifted his head with a wry smile on his face before stepping off, redressing and exclaiming, “No problem, that’s for all you [expletive] doubters.”

How Dillashaw’s body responds to the weight cut when he enters the cage remains to be seen.

Dillashaw will meet Henry Cejudo for the UFC flyweight title in Saturday’s main event. Cejudo also made weight, checking in at 124.4 pounds.

After 19 fights at bantamweight, this will be Dillashaw’s first bout at flyweight. At Thursday’s prefight news conference, Dillashaw, 32, said he hasn’t weighed 125 pounds since his college wrestling days in 2009. Dillashaw wasn’t sure what he’d weigh entering the cage Saturday after about 39 hours of rehydration time.

“We’ll see how the body responds,” Dillashaw said. “I’m going to go in there comfortable. I’ve been practicing at a comfortable weight that I can feel fast. I don’t want to get too big, obviously I don’t want to be too light, I want to feel what I’ve been practicing at, so whatever my body naturally comes back to after I’ve rehydrated, so just natural.”

Cejudo expressed his concern for how Dillashaw would respond to the cut, which Dillashaw told ESPN totaled 29 pounds.

“My problem is, will he recover? That’s the question,” Cejudo said. “I’ve said it time and time again, anybody can make a weight, how are you going to feel the next day? How are you going to feel the next day when you go up against another animal that’s made the weight that’s proven at 125 pounds? How?”

All fighters on the card made weight for the event, the UFC’s first under a new broadcast agreement with ESPN. Early preliminaries and the main card will stream on ESPN+, while the regular preliminary bouts will air on ESPN.

Headlining the television portion will be veteran Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and prospect Alexander Hernandez in a lightweight bout.

Following a 10-fight run at welterweight, a clearly dehydrated Cerrone made the lightweight limit for the first time since December 2015. He weighed 155.8 pounds.

"I'm sitting here wishing I could go walk the streets of New York and eat pizza,” Cerrone said.

Previously a top contender at 155, Cerrone went up to 170 pounds following a loss in his first and only UFC title shot. He returns to a very different looking lightweight division, one Hernandez thinks is ripe for his taking, starting with a marquee win over the UFC stalwart.

“You take a big stage in devastating fashion, a huge win over ‘Cowboy’ would certainly catapult the career into the next tier, and that’s what I want,” Hernandez said.

Cerrone isn’t prepared to be anybody’s steppingstone.

“For me to come back and for him to say he’s going to steamroll me, says I’m a steppingstone, [expletive], I’m a [expletive] boulder in your way, I’ve fought the who’s who.”

New York Sports