According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, the UFC is planning to finalize a bantamweight bout between TJ Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen that will headline a UFC Fight Night card on July 24 from a location and venue that have yet to be determined.
Dillashaw and Sandhagen were previously scheduled to meet on May 8, but Dillashaw was forced to withdraw from the bout after suffering a cut above his eye.
A former two-time bantamweight champion, Dillashaw hasn’t competed since January 2020, when he suffered a first-round TKO loss to then-flyweight titleholder Henry Cejudo. Following the loss, it was revealed that Dillashaw had tested positive for the banned substance EPO and had subsequently been suspended for two years. The suspension also forced the 35-year-old to relinquish his 135-pound title.
Despite the drug test failure, Dillashaw is still widely considered to be one of the best bantamweights of all time. Before losing to Cejudo, the California native had won four straight fights, including back-to-back TKO victories over fellow former champion Cody Garbrandt.
Sandhagen, meanwhile, has rapidly risen up the 135-pound rankings while Dillashaw has been on the sidelines. The 29-year-old Colorado native is currently ranked No. 2 in the division and has won nine of his previous 10 bouts.
Since suffering the first loss of his UFC career via first-round rear-naked-choke to current champion Aljamain Sterling last June, Sandhagen has rebounded in a massive way. Last October, he scored a second-round TKO victory over former title challenger Marlon Moraes after dropping the Brazilian with a spinning wheel kick. He followed that up with a picture-perfect flying knee knockout of former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar this past February.
The winner of TJ Dillashaw vs. Cory Sandhagen could very well earn a title shot at 135 pounds.
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.