T.J. Dillashaw has been away from the UFC since his failed attempt at becoming a double champion against Henry Cejudo in Brooklyn, New York at UFC Fight Night 143.
The Bantamweight division has undergone a lot of changes since that night in January 2019. Now, the roulette wheel is starting to turn on who will welcome him back. Cory Sandhagen, a fresh name, has mentioned him.
In speaking with Luke Thomas, Cory Sandhagen broke down the reasons why a fight with T.J. Dillashaw makes sense. Sandhagen admitted that under the watchful eye of coach Duane Ludwig, the two fighters had sparred going back to when T.J. was getting ready to fight Renan Barao.
Even now, Cory Sandhagen harbors no ill will towards the former two-time Bantamweight champion for cheating with EPO. He considers him, despite that, one of the best ever to compete at 135.
Sandhagen also said that as far as sparring partners goes, sometimes Dillashaw has a tendency to go full steam. But, he does pay well and takes care of his partners.
So what has T.J. Dillashaw been doing on his USADA forced vacation?
The first thing T.J. Dillashaw addressed once away from the pressures of the UFC and the Octagon were multiple surgeries to clean up nagging injuries. Then he started his own podcast, and has also been helping people by showing them how they can train at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
So with someone who's reputation was completely shattered, why would Cory Sandhagen, who is at the top of the division, be interested in that fight? He made some great arguments for it to Luke Thomas.
Cory said that despite the issues, T.J. Dillashaw is still popular, being popular matters a lot, and he wants to "take" his popularity. And because the UFC has been, so far, non-committal towards Petr Yan versus Aljamain Sterling, he doesn't want T.J. to get a title shot right off a PED suspension. Plus, he himself has been on the rise.
But as far as T.J. Dillashaw goes, if it's not Sandhagen, who else could it be to welcome him back to the company? Dana White has played this close to the chest, not giving away any hints of what the UFC will do.
There's always a possible rematch against Dominick Cruz, who Cory is being compared to in foot work and fighting from multiple angles and feints. There's a chance to trilogy them if Cody Garbrandt decides against dropping to Flyweight.