While some were quick to bury former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw after United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) discovered an adverse finding in one of his urine samples, prompting him to surrender his belt, Demetrious Johnson won’t write “Viper” off so quickly.
Speaking on The Ariel Helwani MMA Show, “Mighty Mouse” touched on TJ’s loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC on ESPN+ 1 earlier this year, and his subsequent USADA issues hat followed soon thereafter. To hear Demetrious tell it, TJ’s setback is nothing more than a blemish, and isn’t any different than the several other fighters and ex-champions who have popped with a dirty sample, hit the bench and come back even stronger.
“At the end of the day for TJ, he went down to fight Henry Cejudo and I felt that fight could have gone either way. TJ Dillashaw is no joke, he is great on the feet. He is great everywhere, and so is Henry Cejudo. It’s just one of those shots where you get hit on the side of the head,” said Demetrious of TJ’s lighting-quick defeat to Cejudo.
Dillashaw tried his hardest to get a champion vs champion fight against Johnson to no avail. With “Mighty Mouse” no longer fighting under the UFC banner, the chances of that fight ever going down are slim too none. Still, Johnson has respect for his former colleague and won’t be one of the many who are clowning on the ex-champ for his USADA issues.
“Now, unfortunately, TJ is dealing with the whole adverse finding in his sample. But, it is what it is, I hope the best for both of those athletes and I hope he will be able to move passed it, do his time and be able to get back into the Octagon,” he added, while saying Dillashaw shouldn't be affected too bad despite his hiccup.
“At the end of the day, there have been so many people who have popped for steroids, or whatever it is, they do their time, they come back and are able to compete again and make money. So at the end of the day, it’s like a blemish kind of, but not really I guess. At the end of the day we will see what happens.”
While a mega-star such as Jon Jones has been able to recover — judging by this — from the scrutiny that is still on-going due to his own multiple failed drug tests, there is no telling what kind of reaction the fight world will have once TJ returns from action.
Dillashaw still has to go through the entire USADA process — which many aren’t a fan of — to see just what exactly he tested positive for and what kind of punishment — if any — he faces.
As for Johnson, he is currently living his best life as one of the new faces of ONE Championship after making an explosive debut for the promotion just last week (see it again here).