Chael Sonnen believes Urijah Faber would be the perfect match for T.J. Dillashaw's return to the octagon after a two-year-long drug test suspension. Faber came back from retirement last year and faced Petr Yan before Yan became the UFC bantamweight champion.
Speaking to ESPN's Brett Okamoto, Dillashaw explained why he thinks his first fight after two years away from the UFC should be a title shot against Yan.
"'How are you calling yourself a champion? You're an interim champion.'" Based on the opponents they faced, T.J Dillashaw doesn't feel Petr Yan or Henry Cejudo were true bantamweight champions."
A former two-time UFC bantamweight champion, Dillashaw does not think anyone has been dominant enough in the division since he lost his belt. Sonnen seems to agree with him and does not see any problem with Dillashaw coming back straight as a title contender.
"T.J. Dillashaw did an interview with Brett Okamoto, and he is basically saying: 'I'm coming back. I'm coming back, and I want a title shot right away.' He was arguing his case for a title shot saying, that the belt changes hands every time. It's up for grabs. Nobody there has been dominant," scrutinized Sonnen. "You then have Aldo weighing in telling T.J.: 'Hey, slow the hell down. I'm getting the title shot, and you've got to work your way back up.' All right, fine. I feel like they're all wrong. I got no problem with T.J. fighting for a title on any given night. He got suspended; he served his time; we don't continue to kick him when he's dead. That's not the way things work."
However, Sonnen believes there is a fight that would make more sense before Dillashaw goes for Yan. The former UFC middleweight title contender reckons a fight against UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber would be more attractive right now.
"T.J. Dillashaw vs. Faber: hello? This is obvious. How are we going in any direction with T.J. Dillashaw? I mean, that has been the fight to make happen since when, 2015, 2016? That's always been the fight, Dillashaw vs. Faber. But then it looked like that couldn't happen. Faber left the sport, Faber retired. Dillashaw got suspended. It just couldn't happen. Well, now it can. How are we talking about anything else?"
UFC bantamweight fighters react to T.J. Dillashaw title shot demand
Following his interview with Brett Okamoto, T.J. Dillashaw received a collection of answers from other top bantamweight contenders. Even the division's former champion, Henry Cejudo, who retired this year, reacted to Dillashaw's request.
"This deserves a 'lol!' At least T.J. Dillashaw gets it, not like flavor Flave stunt double Aljamain Sterling who wants to butter up Petr Yan potato head. Skip him and give it to T.J. And I might just make a comeback. In all you guys all suck! Merry Christmas."
Aljamain Sterling, currently the top-ranked bantamweight contender, joked about Dillashaw being afraid of facing his former training partner, Cory Sandhagen, second in the rank.
"I'm not saying anyone is scared but I think T.J. Dillashaw is looking to avoid having to fight someone he had trouble with in training *Enter The Sandman* Cory Sandhagen."
Current UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan also responded to Dillashaw with disdain. Yan claimed the vacant belt after Cejudo's retirement in a bout with former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
"Wait in line, cheater."
Chael Sonnen has a completely different overview of the situation. For him, Dillashaw already paid his debts, and he shouldn't be punished again for his drug-test failure. But Sonnen doesn't care about the future of the UFC bantamweight division. He wants to take advantage of Urijah Faber's remaining time and wants to see it being used in the only way he judges worthy: a fight with T.J. Dillashaw.
"Good for T.J. for wanting to get his belt back. I love that he is competitive. Let's also do a big fight. Let's also do the fight that needs to happen that does have a shelf life. And all fairness: it's not going to be around forever. Faber already left once, he's going to leave again. Am I the only one talking about this? You guys are with me, right? That's the fight to make. That's always been the fight to make. We have seen Faber leave once, and he will leave again, not going to have Faber forever. Even if you want him forever, you're not going to have him. Somebody tell me where I'm wrong? T.J. Dillashaw vs. Urijah Faber, right?"