T.J. Dillashaw believes he is still the true champion at bantamweight.
The 35-year-old makes his return this Saturday at UFC Vegas 32 at the APEX facility, Las Vegas against #2-ranked contender and former training partner Cory Sandhagen in what many agree to be the title-eliminator fight.
Dillashaw sees this fight as the true title fight to determine who is the best in the division, as he believes Sandhagen to be the toughest fighter at 135 pounds.
“It’s definitely a #1-contender fight,” Dillashaw told reporters at the pre-fight media day. “This is the real title fight, to be honest. I was not very impressed with Aljamain and Yan in their last fight. I think Cory Sandhagen’s the toughest in the weight class right now, and this is a true title fight. I’m the true champ coming back and it’s time to prove it.”
Dillashaw returns to the UFC Octagon after more than two years out after the American was suspended by USADA for the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in his last fight against Henry Cejudo back in 2019. More specifically, he tested positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO), a substance that allows athletes to push their cardio ability to the limit and increase their aerobic capacity.
It’s clear that Dillashaw has to prove himself to the masses after being caught on PEDs in his last fight. That smear on his reputation will undoubtedly carry throughout his career if he does not find success to the level that he once had. His journey from here on out will be of redemption and to prove that he is just as good a fighter as he has always appeared.
Do you think T.J. Dillashaw can become a three-time UFC bantamweight champion?