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Dana White: Number one contender fight planned for TJ Dillashaw’s return

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The UFC brass is planning on having TJ Dillashaw fight at least once before getting a title shot. 

TJ Dillashaw before the weigh-ins for his fight against Henry Cejudo at UFC Brooklyn.
TJ Dillashaw pictured ahead of weigh-ins for UFC Brooklyn in January 2019.
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

TJ Dillashaw may have wanted an immediate title shot upon his return to the Octagon following the completion of his two-year suspension, but the UFC brass has different plans.

UFC President Dana White spoke to Brett Okamoto of ESPN on Thursday afternoon about the landscape of the bantamweight division right now and where Dillashaw fits into to it ahead of his first fight back. White revealed that a fight is being worked on for him, but it will likely be a No. 1 contender fight rather than a championship fight.

“We’re working on something for TJ that would line him up (where) the winner of that fight would fight for the title next,” White said.

White kept mum on a name of the potential opponent for Dillashaw, but there have been hints thrown around about it being No. 2 ranked contender Cory Sandhagen. In his last two fights, Sandhagen knocked out both Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar, which led to him asking for a shot at the champion.

If that fight does not materialize, then Sandhagen is open to a title eliminator with Dillashaw and has since confirmed that fight has been offered to him by the UFC.

“I know that Dana yesterday was talking about how they are trying to set up a No. 1 contender spot with TJ Dillashaw [and] that fight has been brought up to me also,” Sandhagen told Laura Sanko during the UFC 259 weigh-in show. “Hopefully, either that happens or we’ll see how the title fight goes [between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling] and see what the champ is kind of asking for after that.”

There are other likely options for Dillashaw to consider in fellow bantamweight standouts, Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font, but it is unknown whether they have also been reached out to for the fight.