Former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw (17-5) is hanging it up. After initial reports started leaking out earlier this evening, Ariel Helwani confirmed with Dillashaw’s reps that the former bantamweight champion informed the promotion that he’s retiring.
The last time we saw Dillashaw he was fighting Aljamain Sterling for the bantamweight championship at UFC 280. That fight was the culmination of a long road for Dillashaw. The former champion lost his title when he tested positive for EPO and was suspended for two years.
Many people, including myself, gave Dillashaw a good chance of dethroning Sterling. However, it was evident from the opening exchanges that something was wrong. In defending a takedown, Dillashaw was noticeably favoring his shoulder.
His shoulder had popped out of place. Somehow, he continued to fight and didn’t get finished in the first round. His coach popped his shoulder back in and he went back in for the second round. However, he wasn’t able to make it out of that round and the fight was stopped.
Dillashaw’s UFC Legacy
After the fight, Dillashaw revealed that he had been dealing with the shoulder injury since the spring but he didn’t want to pull out of the fight. Upon getting his shoulder surgically repaired, doctors told him that it would be a long road for him to return to competition.
Apparently, the road was too long. Upon reflecting on everything he’s been through, Dillashaw told the UFC that he was ready to walk away. The story of TJ Dillashaw is a bit of a sad one if you ask me. Do we know if Dillashaw was always clean? No, but it’s worth noting that he never tested positive during his title reign.
Only when he went down to 125 trying to become a double champ. His ego got in his way and he tried to take a shortcut to achieve that legendary status. He got caught and ultimately tainted his legacy. He’s still one of the best bantamweights of all time, but forever he’ll be linked to PEDs and that’s sad all the way around.