Since T.J. Dillashaw left Team Alpha Male in 2015, he’d developed a publicized feud with his former mentor Urijah Faber. “The California Kid” most recently put the former UFC bantamweight champion on blast for being a “cheap shot guy” and a “crafty cheat.”
These comments obviously stem from Dillashaw’s EPO scandal in 2019 that subsequently sidelined him for the next two years of his career. In that same interview with Submission Radio, the former WEC featherweight champion shared his theory on what could’ve led Dillashaw down that path.
I mean, when you’re in a room with a bunch of guys with a lot of natural gifts and you can pinpoint where you lack, I think he was like, ‘You know what, I don’t have a chance unless…’
And it wasn’t because he didn’t think he can. He’s like, ‘I think I can if I never get tired, or if I can put on 10 pounds of muscle.’ Or whatever the deal. And I think Dom [Cruz] kind of put it in one of his breakdowns.
The situation is, he took a calculated risk. And unfortunately, the benefit and the cost of being shady, rich, and famous, but all I have to do is take two years off in a 12-year career? He did a calculated risk, and there’s no shame in his game.
Regardless of what he thought about Dillashaw’s extra-curriculars, he still tipped his hat to Saturday’s UFC Vegas 32 headliner.
I thought it was an awesome fight, first off. I mean, I know TJ as well as anyone, and that guy is in there till ‘death does he part’ in the ring. Which I think is a good way to be when you’re all in on something.
But yeah, it was super exciting. I was actually ringside. I came back out and watched and I didn’t want to miss that one, and I thought it was an awesome fight. I mean, from where I was standing, I mean, there were a couple of different ways [it could’ve gone]. I thought Sandhagen would have got the nod based on him doing damage and landing the bigger punches and a lot more, I would say.”
The one thing that TJ had going for him, was he was definitely in Sandhagen’s face. Which he has to be, trying to close the gap on a long, lanky guy like that and pushing the fight pace. And then he had a lot of attempts and control time in the in-betweens of grappling or trying to grapple.
I mean, he didn’t do much damage in those situations, other than the first round. But he was initiating. And so it depends if you’re looking at it like, ‘Hey, Sandhagen thwarted all his takedown attempts and did well in the clinch, etc.’
But T.J. was at least putting in the effort to get into those positions and spending a lot of time in there. So, I think that’s probably why he got the nod, because of the intent and the aggression and the forward motion.
Dillashaw will go under the knife for the knee he injured mid-fight. But on the flip side, he’s now back at the top five of the bantamweight rankings at number two.
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