With T.J. Dillashaw expecting to be next in line for current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight titleholder, Aljamain Sterling, the trash talk has already begun.
Dillashaw — a former two-time Bantamweight champion — made his return to action in July 2021, successfully earning a split decision victory against Cory Sandhagen. The fight was Dillashaw’s first in two years after suffering a 32-second technical knockout loss to Henry Cejudo in his Flyweight debut (watch highlights). Soon after, news broke that Dillashaw had tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) and was suspended and vacated his title.
Now back in the mix, Sterling has claimed the top spot in the division with his recent consecutive wins over Petr Yan.
“I’m not too worried about Sterling,” Dillashaw told ESPN (h/t MMA Fighting). “That callout, it’s a pretty easy fight for me, to be honest.
“I think it’s gonna be real good,” he continued. “I mean, congratulations to him, implementing his gameplan in the fight. He showed some weaknesses in Yan, but stylistically that fight is perfect for me, so he can say anything he wants, but he ain’t gonna be champion for much longer.”
For the champion, Sterling (21-3) currently rides a strong seven-fight win streak with his last defeat coming in Dec. 2017 against Marlon Moraes. From his seat, Sterling doesn’t see Dillashaw as one to talk, offering up a response on Tuesday (April 26).
“@TJDillashaw who TF (the f—k) have you beaten that is soOoOoo much tougher than the guys I’ve faced?” Sterling tweeted. “[crying laughing emoji] This is Comedy Central. You should do stand up with @HenryCejudo. He’s your daddy, after he sonned your needled ass [needle emoji].”
Despite feeling the way he does toward “Funkmaster,” Dillashaw still gives the champion some credit.
“He’s good, don’t get me wrong,” Dillashaw said. “He’s got some attributes. He wouldn’t be where he is without being good, but he’s definitely not champion caliber. The guys that I’ve fought already in the past [are] much better than he is, a lot more dangerous. There’s no danger fighting Sterling. Has he ever even knocked anyone out? I don’t know. I didn’t even look at his record.
“It’s a guy that you don’t have to be worried about,” he added. “There’s no way he’s gonna be out-grappling me. His striking is straight pathetic, so yeah, I’m surprised that he is where he is, and stylistically it’s a great fight for me.”
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