Former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw is nearing a return to action in early 2021 when he is eligible to return from a two-year suspension. Dillashaw was suspended following his 2019 flyweight title fight with former champion Henry Cejudo who defeated him by 32-second TKO in the first round back in January of 2019.
Following the loss to Cejudo, Dillashaw was suspended by the New York State Athletic Commission after he was found to have tested positive for EPO. Dillashaw’s suspension is set to end on January 18, 2021 and in a recent interview with ESPN, he revealed he has major goals upon returning, including an immediate title shot.
Speaking to Brett Okamoto of ESPN, Dillashaw said he wants a title shot immediately upon his return and took a shot at the current contenders in the bantamweight division, as well as champion Petr Yan, who Dillashaw believes is not a true champion.
“I want that title fight right away. You’ve got a guy in Petr Yan who beat someone for the belt that is 0-2 in the division. Jose Aldo has two losses [at 135 pounds]. You beat him for the title and you’re calling yourself a champion? That belt has changed hands every fight. No one there has dominated. That’s my belt, and I want to come back to a title fight.” (via ESPN)
Recently, Dillashaw was called out by Cory Sandhagen who sits as the second-ranked bantamweight contender, and Dillashaw says he knows Sandhagen wants to use him as a way to the title.
“Sandhagen wants to fight me because he knows that’s his way to the title. The title shot is mine and he wants to fight me because he wants to fight for the title. If I have to fight someone else, it better be in the top 5.”
TJ Dillashaw surely sounds like a man on a mission as he prepares his return to the bantamweight division, and could be put into the mix sooner rather than later after the scheduled bantamweight title was put on hold. The champion, Petr Yan was set to defend his title against top-contender Aljamain Sterling at UFC 256 next week, but the fight was pushed back and delayed due to non-injury related reasons for the champion.