It’s been awhile since we last saw T.J. Dillashaw in action. After a successful bantamweight run, beating Renan Barao, defending his title two times, and then losing to Dominick Cruz in 2016, Dillashaw bounced back and took the crown from Cody Garbrandt in colorful fashion. He then fought and lost the flyweight title to Henry Cejudo. In addition to the soap opera with Team Alpha Male, he tested positive for EPO following the Cejudo loss, and recieved a two-year suspension from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
According to Dillashaw, a title shot will be his first bout back.
“I was told I would get that title fight when I came back, but that doesn’t mean anything,” Dillashaw told MMA Junkie. “I made a mistake – I don’t own rights to anything. But if it was my choice, it would be title fight, if not top-five to prove I should get that title fight. I think that makes sense.”
Whether or not that actually happens is anyone’s guess. A lot can happen in eight months. Especially with Dillashaw being at the mercy of Cejudo. If Cejudo had his way, he’d be fighting Deiveson Figueiredo and Jose Aldo the same day. No word on if he’s still chasing the “intergender champion of the world.”
Dillashaw remains adamant about coming back, better than ever.
“At first it was super tough,” Dillashaw said. “Then I went through two shoulder surgeries back-to-back, so that kind of added to it. Down in the dumps. On the top of the world, then down as far to the bottom as you can get. It was tough. I’m not going to lie. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t. At first it was real, real tough. But I’ve always been mentally strong.”
Even with Cejudo being an x-factor, it’ll be interesting to see how Dillashaw figures into flyweight too, with Figueiredo vs. Benavidez already being booked. Dillashaw remains unphased, and will take what he can get, since he claims what he got is still his.
“I’m hoping they just throw me to the dogs. If I can’t get that title fight, I want someone in the top five so that I can get my title fight. I’m not here to play around. I want my belt back. It’s still mine. I’ll be ready.”