Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President, Dana White, recently stated that he had something in the works for T.J. Dillashaw’s first fight back after a two-year suspension. And it won’t be a shot at the Bantamweight title, which will be up for grabs this weekend (Sat., March 6, 2021) at UFC 259 when division king, Petr Yan, takes on Aljamain Sterling.
Instead, it will likely be a No. 1 contender eliminator match against Cory Sandhagen, the man many expected to face the winner of Yan vs. Sterling. “The Sandman” himself dropped the news during a recent interview on the UFC weigh-in show.
“Yes, if I am allowed to say it,” Sandhagen said. “The fight has been brought up to me and hopefully we will be fighting pretty soon. I hope this is the case. I definitely think I am the guy right now and I almost feel like T.J. should be really grateful to be fighting for a No. 1 contender spot after his suspension.
“I am glad that it’s me and I am really excited for that fight and looking forward to it,” he added.
One wouldn’t fault UFC for giving Sandhagen a title fight instead because he has been on absolute tear, winning six of his last seven fights since making the move to 135 pounds. In his last two outings, “The Sandman” scored spectacular knockout wins over former title contender, Marlon Moraes, and ex-Lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar.
Dillashaw, on the other hand, was last seen getting knocked out by former Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo at UFC on ESPN 1 in Jan. 2019. That said, “Viper” hasn’t tasted defeat in the Bantamweight division in five years, a split-decision loss to Dominick Cruz that cost him his title.
While Dillashaw was hoping to get a title fight straight away, this is the next best thing for him. But will it turn out in his favor?