Dillashaw returns to the UFC octagon after spending two years out on the sidelines. The American was suspended by USADA after he tested positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) prior to his fight with Henry Cejudo, a fight in which he failed to become a two-division simultaneous champion.
The 35-year-old fights this weekend against #2-ranked contender and former training partner Cory Sandhagen in an obvious title-eliminator fight. Although it would be obvious to go fight for the title next if Dillashaw comes out victorious on Saturday, the former bantamweight champion said that he would not rule out facing the next line of top-five contenders to stay as active as possible.
“I’d like to get that belt back as soon as possible, but if Aljamain’s gonna have to take more time off because of his neck, then I might be fighting someone else again,” Dillashaw told ESPN. “I don’t want to sit too long. I guess I want that title fight next, but I’m just gonna come back, and I think this is the real title fight anyway, beating Sandhagen.
Dillashaw seems he has a renewed passion for the sport of MMA after spending two years out and looks to prove himself that he is still one of the best bantamweights around. If that means fighting Font, then Dillashaw is more than ready to do that. Similarly, Sandhagen also recently mentioned that he would be open to a fight with Font too if he was to beat Dillashaw.
“To me, I’m just gonna treat it like I’ll fight the best, just like I did when I thought I beat Cruz,” said Dillashaw. I was fighting #1 contenders while he was fighting #5 and #8. I’ll do the same thing. “I’ll fight the Rob Fonts, I’ll fight the guys that are top 5 if I have to if those guys are gonna sit back and wait too long, continue to prove myself and build my name, and collect some checks.”
It’s clear that Dillashaw has to prove himself to the masses after being caught on performance-enhancing drugs (PED’s) in his 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 without the PEDs.
Do you think T.J. Dillashaw will recapture the past glory that he once had?