Michael Bisping is perhaps one of the most vocal critics of steroid use in MMA, but ‘The Count’ can’t help but respect T.J. Dillashaw for coming clean about his EPO usage.
Dillashaw, the former UFC bantamweight champion, was suspended for two years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in 2019 after it was revealed that the 35-year-old tested positive for EPO following his first-round stoppage loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC Fight Night 143.
Dillashaw will make his long awaited comeback against No. 2-ranked bantamweight Cory Sandhagen in this Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 27 main event at the UFC APEX, and Bisping is excited to see how The Ultimate Fighter 14 finalist performs against such a game opponent after a two-year layoff.
“For T.J. to come back after two years and take on this guy? There’s easy fights to have,” Bisping said on YouTube (h/t MMA Fighting). “Easier comeback fights have to get back into the swing of things, to let the world know you’re still a contender. Way easier fights to do that with. So as I say, I do respect T.J. Dillashaw for doing that. It’s gonna be a great fight this weekend and I can’t wait to see it.”
“T.J. Dillashaw has served a two-year suspension and he came out and he owned up to it, and I’ve got to say, I respect that,” Bisping said. “I do. Everybody knows my stance on steroids but the fact that he came out and he owned up to it, he put his hand up and said, ‘Yeah, I cheated, the pressure got to me,’ it’s refreshing. It’s refreshing to see. Most people make up some nonsense. They say it was some cream or a supplement of whatever. They come out with outlandish things to try and make up for it rather than just saying, ‘Hey, I did it. You got me.’ So I respect that.
“He served his two-year suspension. You may have different thoughts on that. Maybe you think he shouldn’t be here, he should be banned for life, whatever that is, but that doesn’t matter because the punishment was dealt, it was a two-year suspension, and he served that.”
UFC on ESPN: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw takes place on July 24 at the UFC APEX Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.