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Dana White praises TJ Dillashaw for handling PED suspension ‘like a man’

UFC Fight Night: Cejudo v Dillashaw Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

T.J. Dillashaw has to make up for some lost time after losing two years of his career to a suspension from performance-enhancing drug (PED) use.

In Jan. 2019, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight kingpin suffered a 32-second knockout to Henry Cejudo at Flyweight (watch highlights) before he subsequently failed a United State Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) test. Dillashaw was busted for using Erythropoietin (EPO), a steroid commonly known to boost endurance.

Dillashaw came clean about his usage, as EPO is a nearly impossible PED to deny taking because of its potency. Now, he’s back after a successful July 2021 split decision return against Cory Sandhagen (watch highlights), challenging for the title against the current champion, Aljamain Sterling, this weekend (Sat., Oct. 22, 2022) at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

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YEAR-END PPV BLOWOUT! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) closes out its final pay-per-view (PPV) of the year on Sat., Dec. 10, 2022, with a battle for the vacant Light Heavyweight crown between former champion and No. 2-ranked contender, Jan Blachowicz, looking to stop the momentum of No. 3-seeded Magomed Ankalaev. In the co-main event of UFC 282, which will take place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, breakout star, Paddy Pimblett, intends to keep his momentum going at the expense of gritty veteran, Jared Gordon.

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Ahead of the big title fight, UFC President, Dana White, had nothing but good things to say about “The Viper” despite the checkered history of Dillashaw.

“First of all, the guy is probably, and I don’t know this for a fact, but I would assume he’s one of the most tested guys in the company right now,” White told My Mom’s Basement (h/t MMA Junkie). “USADA is probably all over him. But I think he made a mistake, and he handled it like a man. I’ll tell you what: We’ve had a lot of guys in the history of this company who have been busted for steroids and handled it the exact opposite way. They handled it not like men. Dillashaw did. He took it on the chin. You’ve got to respect him for that.”

Sterling has already publicly expressed how he believes his opponent is still using banned substances. Hearing the claims, Dillashaw feels they’re just pre-emptive excuses for an impending loss.

Should Dillashaw get the job done, he’ll become only the second fighter in UFC history to hold a title on three separate occasions alongside Randy Couture.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 280 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPNEWS/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET, then the remaining undercard (also on ESPNEWS/ESPN+) at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 280: “Oliveira vs. Makhachev” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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