T.J. Dillashaw last set foot in the Octagon at UFC 280 in October 2022. At the time, he was returning from a year-long layoff to challenge reigning champion Aljamain Sterling.
Now, T.J. Dillashaw is looking at a possible UFC comeback, as he believes he’s still at the top of the heap at 135 pounds.
T.J. Dillashaw ‘didn’t want to retire’
In his recent guest appearance on the Jaxxon Podcast co-hosted by Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, T.J. Dillashaw admitted that the decision to retire was a bitter pill to swallow.
“It’s been a real bitter thing,” he said (quotes by MMA Fighting). “It’s been hard for me to be around the sport recently like even helping my training partner Juan Archuleta fighting in Japan in RIZIN for the belt.
“It’s been hard for me to wrap my head around being in the sport at the same time being forced out of it. Also, my career just kind of panned out the way it did towards the end — really just bitter, you know?”
According to Dillashaw, doctors haven’t given him a favorable response about a possible return to action. But he’s looking at other options.
“I’m hoping — every doctor I’ve met, they’re all specialists on my shoulder, they’re all telling me they can’t put me back good enough to be able to fight again. Doctors aren’t always right but I have to have a super-extensive shoulder surgery.
“What I’m waiting on right now are some cadaver parts. I need a cadaver shoulder head bone.”
T.J. Dillashaw downplays Aljamain Sterling’s skills
Because of his nagging shoulder injury, T.J. Dillashaw fought Sterling with one good arm. But he’s nonetheless left unimpressed with what “Funkmaster” brought to the table.
“I was fighting a guy that I match up really well against. Aljamain Sterling had the belt — has the belt — and I don’t think he’s that great.
“Yeah, he’s got some awesome grappling, he’s got some tricky back takes but his stand-up is just not threatening at all. I could let him hit me as hard as he wants and nothing would happen.”
Dillashaw remains optimistic about his full healing. And he’s already planning a possible return if he does get his shoulder moving back to normal.
“I know that I’m still the best guy in the weight class, by far,” he said.
“For the sport to be taken from me the way that it was, it just doesn’t sit well with me… If the shoulder’s good, man, definitely I have to get back in there. I can’t let it go out the way it did.”
T.J. Dillashaw’s recent UFC run
Dillashaw had to sit out for two years to serve a suspension after a failed drug test in 2019. Upon his UFC return, he faced top contender Cory Sandhagen, whom he defeated via split decision.
After the loss to Sterling, the two-time UFC bantamweight champion dropped to a record of 17-5.
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