|T.J. Dillashaw will be eligible to return to active competition in January, 2021.|
Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw has his eyes firmly set on an immediate title opportunity upon his return from suspension in January, 2021 and proclaimed, that despite forcing a vacant title fight, is “still the champion of the world“.
The California native failed a post-fight drug test after his January loss to Henry Cejudo this year, with anti-doping agency USADA flagging the test, due to the presence of EPO. The former two-time champion relinquished his title and was issued a suspension by both USADA and the New York State Athletic Commission, which will prevent him from returning to active competition until January 2021.
Speaking in an interview with reporter Helen Yee recently, Dillashaw confirmed his intention to challenge for the title, currently held by rival Henry Cejudo, when he completes his suspension. “That bantamweight division needs me back. They need the entertainment back and they need me to come back and throw some wrinkles in the weight class and create some tension. They need me to cause some fire, cause some rift. That is my weight class, I had to give that belt up and fair enough, I understand. I f**ked up, and I had to relinquish it. But, I didn’t lose. That’s my belt, I’m still calling it my belt. I’m still champion of the world. When I come back I will reclaim it.”
Dillashaw, 33, last entered the winner’s enclosure against Cody Garbrandt, moving to 2-0 in his rivalry with his former Team-Alpha MMA teammate. Moving to flyweight to challenge current ‘champ champ’ Henry Cejudo for the 125-pound championship earlier this year, Dillashaw was finished in the opening minute via strikes. In recent days, another former teammate has voiced his willingness to meet the Bang Muay Thai trainee upon his return. Former WEC featherweight best Urijah Faber has offered to clash with Dillashaw; “He’ll (Dillashaw) be off the PED’s when he comes back and I’ll be 42 (year’s old) so that should even things out.”
During his time with Team-Alpha MMA, Dillashaw would often mimic the fighting style of then bantamweight best Dominick Cruz, with his fluid movement, combination work and crafty footwork, with both the previously mentioned Faber and the flyweight number-one contender Joseph Benavidez challenging Cruz for championships during Dillashaw’s time in California.