T.J. Dillashaw is not shying away from the issue that is sure to dominate the narrative leading into his big comeback fight at this weekend’s UFC Vegas 32.
T.J. Dillashaw was able to achieve something very few fighters are able to in their mixed martial arts career: become a UFC champion. In fact, Dillashaw was able to win the UFC bantamweight title on two separate occasions. The first time, he defeated Renan Barao in one of the biggest championship upsets in UFC history in 2015. He then recaptured the title by defeating Cody Garbrandt in 2017.
Dillashaw’s second title reign would end unceremoniously, with the former Team Alpha Male member testing positive for EPO in 2019 and accepting a two-year USADA sanction as a result.
T.J. Dillashaw Addresses Suspicions Of Career-Long Cheating
On July 24, T.J. Dillashaw will finally make his return when he takes on #2-ranked Cory Sandhagen in the UFC Vegas 32 main event. Many people are skeptical that Dillashaw will perform at the championship level he has in the past due to the common perception that he has been doping for his entire career. Meanwhile, Dillashaw has maintained that his EPO usage was an isolated incident that occurred only because he was struggling to cut weight down for his flyweight debut.
Days out from his big comeback fight, Dillashaw points to the man he’ll be standing across from as further evidence that he has not been reliant on performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career (h/t Middle Easy).
“If I thought I got somewhere due to PEDs, I wouldn’t be calling out Cory Sandhagen,” Dillashaw said in an appearance on Food Truck Diaries. “I wouldn’t be asking for the top five. I’m going to be a f*cking animal when I get back in the cage.”
Ultimately, Dillashaw is aware that the noise of him being a career-long cheat will trail him maybe for the rest of his life. It is his decision to not run from his mistakes, he says, that has allowed him to drown it all out.
“People can go say whatever they want about the decision I made, but USADA actually put me under a microscope when I got in trouble, man,” Dillashaw said. “They went back to all my fights that they ever collected my samples, retested all of them all the way back to [the Dominick Cruz fight]. Because they keep an A and B sample every time you get tested…
“No matter what, it’s gonna be like that. I made the mistake. That’s like USADA’s weapon to use against you—to really slander you so nobody else wants to do this sh*t. Those questions are valid because I f*cked up, I made the decision. But me being able to live with that, me owning up to it has made it f*cking easy.”