After spending more than two years on the sidelines, thanks to a drug-test suspension from USADA, former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw made his successful return to action with a split-decision win over Cory Sandhagen at UFC Vegas 32 last July.
But his victory did not come without a price.
Dillashaw ripped up his knee during their five-round affair and was forced to undergo surgery just a few days after the event. That’s the bad news. The good news is the injury bug spared his ACL, significantly reducing his recovery time.
“I had a medial meniscus bucket handle tear, a lateral meniscus tear, and a PCL tear,” Dillashaw told UFC 265 Calabasas Fight Companion (transcribed by Danny Segura). “I’m just glad it wasn’t ACL. I’m happy with the results because it would’ve been nine months. I’m looking at a three-month recovery right now until I get back to training, fight for the title at the beginning of next year.”
Dillashaw, 35, improved to 17-4 with his “Sandman” victory and slid into the No. 2 spot in the official 135-pound rankings. That leaves him seated just behind former champion Petr Yan, who is expected to rematch Aljamain Sterling for the bantamweight title in October.
Not far behind them is former featherweight champion Jose Aldo, who is now the winner of two straight in the 135-pound division. If Dillashaw suffers recovery complications it’s not unreasonable to think matchmakers would call upon “Junior” in early 2022.