On January 18th, the suspension of former UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw (16-4), will officially be lifted. The MMA world has not seen Dillashaw inside a cage since January 19th of 2019.
That night, Dillashaw took on Henry Cejudo for the UFC‘s flyweight championship. Dillashaw was attempting to become a two-division world champion, however, he was caught and finished in the first 32 seconds of the fight.
The stoppage was controversial and the UFC was looking to book a rematch between the two. However, Dillashaw then announced that he was vacating his UFC bantamweight title due to a result in his pre-fight drug test.
We later found out that Dillashaw had tested positive for the performance enhancing drug, EPO. Dillashaw was suspended for two years for the positive drug test. In the span of just a couple of weeks Dillashaw went from superstardom to being shunned by the MMA community.
Now, the suspension is almost up and the former champ is anxious to get back into the cage. Dillashaw was interviewed yesterday by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and talked about his return. Dillashaw made it clear that he’s wanting to go right to the top.
UFC title shot right away?
“They (the UFC) know I want the title fight. I want that title. I want it right away because you got a guy, Petr Yan, that beat someone for the belt who was 0-2 (Jose Aldo) in the weight division. You know, how are you calling yourself a champion,” Dillashaw told Okamoto.
The current UFC bantamweight champion, Yan, is scheduled to take on Aljamain Sterling at some point early next year. The fight was originally supposed to take place next week, but Yan had to postpone the fight.
Dillashaw also said in the interview that he’s looking to fight around March. In all honesty, I don’t see Dillashaw getting a title shot right away. There would have been a chance if Yan and Sterling had fought next week, but now, I don’t think so.
With that in mind, Dillashaw will need to fight someone in the UFC‘s top ten. A couple of names stick out including Cory Sandhagen and Frankie Edgar. A fight with either of those two makes a lot of sense for Dillashaw.
Dillashaw made it clear that he wants a UFC title shot right away. However, if he is forced to fight someone else, he wants it to be a title eliminator. One thing is for sure, and that is with the return of Dillashaw, bantamweight just got even better.