UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw will meet the returning Dominick Cruz on January 17 in a fight which is all about the numbers.

Both Dillashaw and Cruz are reputable for making and breaking records in their careers, and two of 135lbs’ most dominant fighters will finally meet, in a fight which once seemed like a distant dream.

In a recent ‘war of words’ sit-down on UFC on FOX, both men declared their distaste for each other; more so by Cruz, who challenged Dillashaw to back up his claims with hard facts. Forgiving Dillashaw for his momentarily lapse of composure, who passed off most of Dillashaw’s claims as mere opinions, here is a comprehensive breakdown of the bantamweight division’s biggest ever fight.

Both Dillashaw and Cruz polarised headlines for very different reasons in their career. Dillashaw scored one of the biggest title upsets in UFC history, when he defeated the overwhelming 8/1 favourite Barao to capture the title at UFC 173.

Making his comeback from two ACL injuries and a groin tear, Cruz’s UFC career has been blighted by his inconsistency to remain active. It is because of that, Cruz’s dominance during his tenure in World Extreme Cagefighting and his early days in the UFC is often overlooked.

When comparing both men’s title defence history, the opponents who Cruz defended his WEC and UFC titles against amass a total record of 94-26-1 – this is from four opponents. In contrast, Dillashaw’s title challengers hold an accumulative record 48-8, 1 NC, however Dillashaw has fought against Renan Barao twice.

Dillashaw, 29, is the only active UFC World Champion who has successfully defended 100% of takedown attempts; which may give him an advantage against a fighter like Cruz who is very active with his grappling, averaging 3.95 takedowns per 15 minutes of a fight.

The former Team Alpha Male man; now residing out of Elevation Fight Team, is one of the most significantly arcuate strikers in the UFC ranks. Landing 29 significant strikes a round – compared to Cruz’s 17 – Dillashaw’s pin point aggression makes him one of the most dangerous challenges of Cruz’s career.

If Dillashaw is the master of hitting, then Cruz is the opposite, only absorbing 9.35 significant strikes a round compared to Dillashaw’s 13.15. Cruz made a name for himself avoiding damage whilst tiring his opponents; signified with his punishing and grinding style.

30-year-old Cruz will make his official return to the top of the bantamweight ladder; completing a long road back to a perch he was never knocked off, but the landscape of the sport could not look more different than the last time the Alliance MMA man held the gold.

The six other men that held UFC Championships in 2011 – including Anderson Silva and Benson Henderson, have all since lost their belts. Now more so than ever, it is obvious that a new wave of MMA has swept the globe, as much younger, fresher fighters find themselves at the peak of success.

Styles make fights, and the showdown between Dillashaw and Cruz reminds us about one of combat sport’s most simple cruxes; fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.