TJ Dillashaw is set to return to the octagon, but fans and experts have not forgotten about his controversial exit from the UFC. After testing positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO), the 35-year-old faced a two-year suspension at the hands of the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Now scheduled to make his comeback against UFC bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen, the 'Viper' will look to absolve himself by making a swift climb up the UFC's bantamweight rankings.
When did TJ Dillashaw last compete inside the octagon?
Following his loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC 233, TJ Dillashaw shocked the MMA community with his announcement to relinquish his 135-pound title. Media houses around the world dove into a frenzy learning the news, subsequently forcing an acknowledgment from the former champion. Dillashaw's confession came on April 12th, 2019, in a lengthy post about letting his coaches, family, and teammates down. Now, after two years of serving his suspension, TJ Dillashaw is looking to resurrect his career against a tough and durable Cory Sandhagen at UFC Fight Night 189.
Watch TJ Dillashaw put in the work ahead of his upcoming return to the UFC!
During a recent interview with Canadian MMA journalist James Lynch, UFC bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen commented on the Dillashaw matter. With Sandhagen and Dillashaw hailing from the same training camp, a question about the latter's use of steroids seemed almost inevitable. When asked about possible suspicions, Cory said:
"I never heard anything and there were no red flags that I would speculate on anything like that, especially that being a serious thing to say about someone. But, I will say it's hard to believe that EPO is the first thing you'd use if you're going to use a PED. You're probably going to do something different than sticking a needle in you to get an unfair advantage before. So that's a little bit hard to believe. But as far as red flags or anything, none really."
Watch the interview here:
Following the completion of his suspension, TJ Dillashaw hinted at a return that stipulated a direct shot at the title. However, with the UFC's plan to head in another direction, this idea was quickly scrapped. Nonetheless, the 'Viper' quickly landed a return fight against Cory Sandhagen, who is currently coming off of a dominant victory over ex-lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
Catch the highlight-reel finish here:
Does TJ Dillashaw still have the spark from his reign as champion? Or will inactivity prove to be a detrimental factor in the fight's outcome?
Be sure to leave us with your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!