The Two-Time Bantamweight Champion Finds Many Athletic Similarities in the Racing World
By Mark Robinson
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Andy Lally puts it all on the line on the racetrack. T.J. Dillashaw does the same in the octagon. Their worlds collided Friday at Watkins Glen International and both athletes realized they aren’t all that different.
Dillashaw is a two-time UFC bantamweight champion in the mixed martial arts. Lally is a three-time IMSA champion and 34-time race winner. Lally showed Dillashaw around his No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship paddock on Friday before Dillashaw took a lap around The Glen in an IMSA safety car.
“We’re both adrenaline junkies and do it because we love it,” Dillashaw said. “It’s cool to learn the ins and outs of being a driver, all the little details that it takes, the things you’ve got to pay attention to. You’ve got to be so meticulous on the way you drive and the preparation and hydration.
“All of that stuff is cool. Me being a professional athlete, that’s where my mind goes. How do I get prepared to race? How do I get prepared to fight? It’s cool to see there’s some similarities and obviously a lot of differences, too.”
Lally is a UFC fan whose training regimen includes some mixed martial arts.
“It’s why I enjoy martial arts and the UFC and those events because I know what those athletes have to go through,” Lally said. “I’m like an aspiring amateur. I train on the mats like four or five days a week with guys like that. It’s amazing.”
Lally was also glad to see a fellow athlete take interest in sports car racing.
“I’m thrilled that there’s another UFC guy that wants to be a part of this,” he said of Dillashaw, who’ll attempt to win the UFC bantam crown for a third time in September. “It’s really cool to be able to show someone that I’m a fan of around here and have some fun.”