Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw will be making his return to mixed martial arts (MMA) after more than two years on the sidelines, thanks to a positive drug test that earned him a lengthy timeout from the piddle police over at United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Blame the demon of self doubt.
But one of the big questions heading into his Octagon return at UFC Vegas 26, which takes place opposite Cory Sandhagen on May 8 from the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, is what version of Dillashaw we can expect, sans EPO. According to Sandhagen, the ex-champ will likely be as dangerous as he’s ever been.
“I don’t really know what he’s been doing, but yeah, I suppose that’s probably the narrative that T.J. is probably gonna come back as a not-as-great version of T.J., but that’s just a narrative that I’m not gonna buy into,” Sandhagen told MMA Junkie. “I’m gonna buy into the narrative which is gonna keep me safer, which is T.J. is gonna come back a better T.J.”
Sandhagen (14-2) has won nine of his last 10, including back-to-back knockout victories over Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar. Defeating Dillashaw is expected to grant “Sandman” the next crack at the bantamweight crown, once these two get done fussing over it.
That makes him a douche, according to Dillashaw.
“I don’t really know what I said exactly that made him call me a douchebag,” Sandhagen continued. “I mean, I definitely made a comment about the steroid usage, but yeah man, you shouldn’t be using steroids. I don’t think anyone is gonna be on board or on your side for that, whether we trained together or not. Then I said I was doing good against him when we were in sparring, which is also the truth, too. I guess sometimes saying the truth makes you a bit of a douchebag also. I can agree with that, but yeah. I don’t know. I’ll let as much bad blood as he wants to create, he can create on his own. To me, this thing is about winning a world championship. He’s in the way, and that’s about it.”
Sandhagen is currently the odds-on betting favorite.