This past weekend in Abu Dhabi, Dillashaw was looking to become a three-time 135-pound titleholder by dethroning Aljamain Sterling. In the end, it was the champion who made history inside the Etihad Arena, not the challenger.
With a second-round TKO victory, Sterling broke the UFC’s bantamweight record for the longest win streak. The result appeared inevitable fairly quickly when it became evident that Dillashaw had suffered a shoulder dislocation early into the first round.
Despite his corner appearing to successfully put his shoulder back into place ahead of the second frame, it didn’t take long for the 37-year-old to be left fighting with one arm once again.
And as it turns out, the in-fight dislocations added to a list of numerous instances off the injury in recent months, with Dillashaw revealing that his shoulder popped out around “20 times” during his training camp.
That revelation, as well as the fact that pre-fight medicals hadn’t discovered the issue and referee Marc Goddard’s apparent knowledge of it, left many critical of how the co-main event was allowed to play out.
According to one-time title challenger Anthony Smith, the blame lies with Dillashaw.
Smith: Dillashaw’s Decision To Fight Seems Like A “Money Grab”
During a recent episode of the Believe You Me podcast alongside Michael Bisping, Smith offered his views on the anticlimactic bantamweight championship showdown on October 22.
“Lionheart,” who currently occupies the #5 spot at 205 pounds, admitted that he was left “disappointed” in Dillashaw following his decision to promote and enter the Octagon for a fight he had no chance of winning.
“I’ll be honest with you, I’m a little bit disappointed in TJ Dillashaw as a person,” Smith said. “He sold us all wolf tickets and had everyone super excited for a fight that — I don’t care what anybody says, you can’t lie to yourself. In all your fight buildup and all the stuff you said to other people, you had to look at yourself in the face in the mirror and know what you’re capable of, and what the chances were that that was going to happen.
“So, you can’t lie to yourself. Him saying, ‘I didn’t know when this was gonna come back around,’ it sounded like a money grab, to be 100% honest with you. There’s no way if his shoulder went out that easy on that takedown and went out 20 times in training camp, there’s no way you were gonna beat Aljamain Sterling.”
While many have shared the same sentiment online in the aftermath of UFC 280, a number of others chose to praise Dillashaw for a level of grit and toughness.
That includes UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou, who knows a thing or two about fighting through injury having defeated Ciryl Gane with a torn MCL and damaged ACL at UFC 270.
Do you share the same sentiment as Anthony Smith in terms of TJ Dillashaw’s decision to fight at UFC 280?
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