Tom Aspinall & Paddy Pimblett Defend TJ Dillashaw’s Decision To Fight At UFC 280

UK MMA stars Paddy Pimblett and Tom Aspinall have come out in defense of former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw’s decision to fight at UFC 280.

At the Abu Dhabi-held pay-per-view event last October, Dillashaw looked to make history by becoming a three-time 135-pound titleholder inside the Octagon. Unfortunately for the veteran, the chances of that happening against Aljamain Sterling in the co-main event went out the window fairly quickly.

Not long into the first round, it became clear that Dillashaw had dislocated his shoulder. And while his corner appeared to have put it back into place ahead of the second frame, the injury quickly reoccurred before Sterling forced a TKO stoppage.

In the aftermath, Dillashaw admitted that the injury was pre-existing, even claiming that his shoulder had popped out around 20 times during his UFC 280 camp.

That revelation led to mixed responses. While some criticized Dillashaw for entering a fight that he had next to no chance of emerging victorious from, others sympathized with the former champ’s situation and fear that he might’ve never returned to a title fight should he have pulled out.

And in a rising heavyweight contender and surging lightweight prospect, Dillashaw has two supporters in that regard.

Pimblett/Aspinall Share “Hats Off” Attitude Towards Dillashaw

Paddy Pimblett hosted his countryman Tom Aspinall on an episode of his Chattin Pony podcast. The #6-ranked heavyweight has been out of action since tearing his MCL seconds into his headline fight with Curtis Blaydes in July.

Having experienced a pre-existing problem flaring up inside the Octagon, Aspinall is in a position to empathize with Dillashaw. And with that, he said “fair play” to the bantamweight great for ‘betting’ on himself.

“I think fair play to him,” Aspinall said. “As a fighter, you’ve got to go in there believing that you’re gonna win, no matter what… You always have to bet on yourself. And everyone’s injured (going into fights).”

That sentiment was echoed by Pimblett, who understands why Dillashaw decided to persevere with the fight in spite of the severe injury.

“I look at it from his point of view,” Pimblett said. “How old is he, 38? Something like that… The way I look at it… TJ Dillashaw’s probably went into that fight thinking, ‘I’ll never get another title shot again. I need to do this fight.’ So, I say hats off to him. He went into the fight expecting that to happen, but thought, ‘You know what, I’ve got a puncher’s chance, I’ll try and do it.'”

After undergoing surgery to repair the compromised shoulder, it emerged that Dillashaw had alerted the UFC of his decision to retire.

The legitimacy of the retirement has come under question, however, with some suggesting that Dillashaw has secured an exit from USADA’s testing pool in order to use substances banned by the agency to aid his recovery.

Do you agree with Paddy Pimblett and Tom Aspinall’s take on TJ Dillashaw’s decision to fight at UFC 280?

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