T.J. Dillashaw is only focused on winning later tonight (Sat., July 24, 2021) at UFC Vegas 32 live on ESPN/ESPN+ from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, when the former UFC bantamweight champion meets dangerous contender Cory Sandhagen in the main event. Everything else can take a backseat.
Dillashaw, who is making his first Octagon appearance since serving a two-year suspension for illegally doping, is trying to re-establish himself as a title contender at 135 pounds. After all, Dillashaw didn’t lose his UFC bantamweight title prior to his suspension. He lost a flyweight title shot against Henry Cejudo and then got stripped of his belt. That means he was the best bantamweight fighter in the world when he was forced to step away in 2019.
Heading into his return there are many questions about Dillashaw’s abilities as a 35-year-old fighter and also how he’ll recover mentally after cheating MMA. The former UFC champion seems ready to pick up where he left off inside of the Octagon, but Dillashaw isn’t overly concerned with how he’ll be viewed after coming off of his suspension.
“Excuse my language, but f—k your reputation,” said Dillashaw during UFC Vegas 32’s media day (h/t MMA Weekly). “You know what I mean? You gotta worry about yourself. I have a great life. I have a great family. I’m just worried about my coaches, my teammates, my family. Other than that I could care less.
“I’ve been in this game too long to want to scroll through the comments and think what other people f—king think that are sitting behind their computers and not having anything to achieve for.”
Luckily, Dillashaw will have a perfect opportunity to prove his doubters wrong and knock off one of the most dangerous contenders in the division today. Sandhagen has produced a 7-1 UFC record since his debut in 2018 and is coming off back-to-back finishes over Frankie Edgar and Marlon Moraes. He’s an absolute stud, but a fighter that Dillashaw is familiar with and confident in exposing.
“He’s still the same fighter. He’s still the same guy,” said Dillashaw. “He’s still the same guy I trained with and I know that I can come out there and put a beating on him. So I’m excited for Saturday.”
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 32 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.