T.J. Dillashaw looks to make history at UFC 280 on Oct. 22, but for one of the sport’s all-time greats, the prior legacy is a bit tarnished.
Dillashaw’s impending clash with the current UFC Bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling, will act as only his second since Jan. 2019. In that appearance, Dillashaw went down to Flyweight with hopes of becoming a dual-division champion, ultimately coming up short against Henry Cejudo, suffering a 32-second technical knockout loss (watch highlights).
The then-Bantamweight champion, Dillashaw, tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug (PED) Erythropoietin (EPO) after the bout, resulting in a two-year suspension before his inevitable comeback. Dillashaw has since defeated Cory Sandhagen via split decision to earn his title shot against Sterling. However, many believe former Featherweight kingpin, Jose Aldo, had a solid claim as the No. 1 contender.
“No disrespect to T.J., he’s a great athlete, but I think his time has gone,” Aldo told Canal Encarada (h/t MMA Fighting). “These two years he stayed out and not testing himself. I’ll say this, man, outside [of] fighting, the doping situation, everything he’s built, we don’t know how it was, if it really was his body because, you like it or not, when anti-doping got more strict, he got punched twice and went down.
“It’s not the same thing when he fought and [doping] was more open,” he continued. “That, no doubt, makes a huge difference. If he’s getting in there and trying to prove [himself] to his own head, he already starts with an opponent inside himself, to see if he can do the things he did before the doping. So, to me, Sterling is a big favorite in this fight.”
This weekend (Sat., Aug. 20, 2022) at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Aldo faces Merab Dvalishvili for a chance to extend his current streak to four, potentially earning a crack at the Sterling-Dillashaw victor.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 278 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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