This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 32, we saw the return of the former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw (17-4). Dillashaw was taking on arguably the best bantamweight in the division in Cory Sandhagen (14-3) in his return.
Sandhagen stumbled against UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (20-3), however, he bounced back strong. Back-to-back knockouts had everyone believing that Sandhagen was on a war path to the UFC bantamweight title.
TJ Dillashaw never lost the bantamweight title inside the octagon. Dillashaw relinquished the belt after he tested positive for EPO and was suspended for two years. In reality, nobody really knew what to expect from the former UFC champion.
Given Dillashaw’s talent and skill, I figured he’d give Sandhagen a very good fight. However, I figured that Sandhagen would be a bit sharper and edge Dillashaw in a close one at UFC Vegas 32.
For the most part, that prediction looked really good. Through four rounds, I had the fight even. I leaned every so slightly towards Dillashaw in the final frame, but there’s no questioning the fact that Sandhagen did more damage over five rounds at UFC Vegas 32.
There was going to be no robbery either way in this one. Ultimately, two of the three judges gave the fight to Dillashaw and the former UFC champion successfully returned to the octagon.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 32?
After his win on Saturday night, TJ Dillashaw jumped right to the top of the UFC rankings at bantamweight. The only men ranked above him are the champion and the former champion, Petr Yan (15-2).
Yan and Sterling will run things back at UFC 267 at the end of the October. This rematch is occurring because of the controversary ending to their first fight back in March. Yan was dominating the fight, but a blatant illegal knee by Yan forced the fight to stop.
Sterling was awarded the title by DQ and now hopefully we will get some clarity. Dillashaw hurt his knee at UFC Vegas 32 and is going to have to have surgery to repair some damage. That said, it shouldn’t keep him out too long.
In fact, it should line up perfectly with fighting the winner of the UFC 267 main event. With that in mind, there’s only one thing that’s next for TJ Dillashaw after Saturday night: a shot at the bantamweight title that he never lost inside the octagon.