UFC – T.J. Dillashaw: I Want My Belt Back
T.J. Dillashaw is currently serving a two-year suspension issued by USADA for the use of performance enhancing drugs. Given that the ban started on January 18th 2019, two days prior to his loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC Brooklyn, he will be able to return to the Octagon in early 2021.
Despite being nine months away from his return, Dillashaw is already planning his comeback fight. Speaking to MMA Junkie the former UFC bantamweight champion said that he was hoping for an immediate shot at the title.
“I was told I would get that title fight when I came back, but that doesn’t mean anything,” Dillashaw said. “I made a mistake – I don’t own rights to anything. But if it was my choice, it would be title fight, if not top-five to prove I should get that title fight. I think that makes sense.
“I’m hoping they just throw me to the dogs. If I can’t get that title fight, I want someone in the top five so that I can get my title fight. I’m not here to play around. I want my belt back. It’s still mine. I’ll be ready.”
Dillashaw has recognized his suspension as somewhat beneficial over time, despite it being very difficult at the beginning.
“At first it was super tough,” he said. “Then I went through two shoulder surgeries back-to-back, so that kind of added to it. Down in the dumps. On the top of the world, then down as far to the bottom as you can get. It was tough. I’m not going to lie. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t. At first it was real, real tough. But I’ve always been mentally strong.
“I work my ass off and this has actually been – I wouldn’t choose to do this – but one of the best breaks I’ve had ever. I’ve got to focus on other parts of my life. I did something I highly regret and I’ve owned up to it and paid the price for it. I hate to say it’s a blessing in disguise, because I would never choose to do it again, but it is.”
Testing positive for banned substances has obviously had a negative effect on Dillashaw’s reputation, but the 34 year old says he has come to terms with that now.
“It’s hard to hold grudges, because I did it,” Dillashaw said. “I made the mistake. I dirtied my name myself. It’s not on anybody else. I gave them fuel. It hurts, but that’s part of the payment – part of the payment for how I dirtied my name up. I’ve got to live with it now. Trying to hold onto those grudges, that’s like holding onto the past. I’ve already moved on. I’m ready to push for that next goal and getting my belt back.”
Coming back, Dillashaw has one thing on his mind, winning UFC gold for a third time.
“Now I guess I get the opportunity to be a three-time champion, which is absurd,” Dillashaw said. “I don’t feel like I should’ve lost it the first time. I get to recapture it all over again. I get to go through this process a f***ing third time.”
With T.J. Dillashaw set to return to the Octagon early next year, do you think he deserves an immediate shot at the UFC bantamweight title?