Friday, February 26, 2021

T.J. Dillashaw Expects Title Shot Against “Interim Champ” Petr Yan

T.J. Dillashaw wants to regain the UFC bantamweight championship when he makes his return to competition in 2021.

Following his loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw, Dillashaw would suffer an even bigger loss: his ability to compete after testing positive for EPO. Prior to being sacked by the suspension, Dillashaw was well on his way to possibly becoming the consensus bantamweight GOAT. He was turning in one shining performance after another and was a two-time bantamweight champion who was going three years without a loss in the division at the time he was stripped. Being that he was not defeated for the championship prior to his suspension, Dillashaw believes he is the rightful holder of the bantamweight title and should receive a title shot when he makes his Octagon return.

“I want that title. I want it right away,” Dillashaw told ESPN. “Because you got a guy, Petr Yan, that beat someone for the belt that was 0-2 in the division. Jose Aldo had two losses, and he beat him for a title. So how are you calling yourself a champion? To me, you’re an interim champion. That belt has changed hands every fight. There’s no one who’s been sitting there, being dominant. That is my belt.”

T.J. Dillashaw will be eligible to return in January, but he would prefer his return fight to take place in March after spending the holidays with his family and tending to his business ventures. By then, Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling should have fought, and Dillashaw would like to have the winner without any tune-up fights. And with the financial freedom Dillashaw has earned inside and outside of the UFC, he feels no obligation to accept any fight he feels is beneath him.

“If it’s a fight that doesn’t make sense to me, I don’t need to take it,” Dillashaw said. “I’m sitting good, man. I’m comfortable with where I’m at. So it needs to make sense to me. It needs to get me motivated to fight.”

The former bantamweight champion would go on to say that he would be willing to fight a top-5 opponent if absolutely necessary, but he fully expects to be in a championship bout early next year against the winner of what he deems to be an interim title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.

Do you think T.J. Dillashaw should get a title shot when he makes his return in 2021?