Former two-time bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw believes he is next in line to fight for the 135-pound belt.
Following a hiatus due to a suspension for illegal substances, TJ Dillashaw returned in a wild fight against the #2-ranked Cory Sandhagen. When bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling was forced out of his scheduled rematch with Petr Yan, Sandhagen stepped in. Due to some torn ligaments in Dillashaw’s knee from the Sandhagen fight, he was unable to make the Oct. 30 date at UFC 267.
Speaking on The MMA Hour, Dillashaw addressed questions about his next appearance in the cage. In addition, he was asked if he would accept a fight with the #5-ranked legend, Jose Aldo.
“From what I’ve been told, I’m fighting for the belt next, no matter what that belt is. TJ Dillashaw said. So that’s kinda where my mindset’s at right now. But shit, its Jose Aldo. Jose Aldo, to me, is an all-time legend. So it’s hard to think about not taking (that) fight if it’s offered to you. But I’m fighting for the belt next is what I’ve been told.”
With the interim 135-pound strap up for grabs on Oct 30, Dillashaw’s statement raises some questions. TJ Dillashaw presumes he is next to fight for the title, but Sterling sits on the sidelines as champion still. Since “Funkmaster” was never stripped of his title, in the vast majority of circumstances, the incumbent champion is typically next to unify the two belts.
Granted, TJ Dillashaw isn’t convinced that Aljamain Sterling will return after such a major neck surgery. Regardless of what title it is, Dillashaw believes he will vie for gold much sooner than we might have expected.
Who do you think should be next in line for gold after the Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen fight?