T.J. Dillashaw’s two-year drug suspension expires later this month (tomorrow, Jan. 19, to be exact), and the former UFC bantamweight champ will no doubt be angling for a title shot upon his return.
But is he deserving of it?
No, according to former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, who believes Dillashaw needs a win before he gets the next crack at the title.
“Yeah, he’s got to go in there and win,” Edgar told The Schmo in a recent interview (h/t Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock). “That’s for sure. Does he deserve a title shot right away? No, I don’t think so.
“There’s still some unknowns — you don’t know how he’s going to react when he’s not able to take steroids. And who knows how long he’s been taking steroids and what not. I’m not one to point fingers and say this and that. If he goes in there and wins a fight then he’s in the mix.”
Asked who Dillashaw should face upon his return, Edgar suggested Rob Font. Font is on a three-fight win streak and called Dillashaw out following his first-round TKO of Marlon Moraes at UFC Vegas 17. The 33-year-old is currently #5 in the UFC bantamweight rankings.
“Rob Font looked really good against Marlon,” Edgar. “Came back from a pretty one-sided round and was able to put Marlon away. Marlon’s a great friend of mine and one of the best bantamweights in the world. So that could be a good matchup. Him versus Rob Font.”
Although Dillashaw tested positive for EPO, Edgar is excited for the former champ’s return to the cage and thinks he’ll make a welcome addition to the bantamweight roster.
“Yeah, it’s another good guy in the mix,” he said. “I don’t know who he’s going to match up with. I know he’s calling for a title, but we’ll see what happens. There’s a lot of guys in the mix right now. Bantamweight is a hot division and add TJ to the mix and it makes it even deeper.”
Edgar won his 135 pound debut with a split decision win over Pedro Munhoz in August 2020 and is expected to return to the cage next month to take on No. 2-ranked bantamweight Cory Sandhagen at UFC Vegas 18.