T.J, Dillashaw takes on Cory Sandhagen tomorrow night in the main event of UFC Vegas 32. The fight is his first since losing to Henry Cejudo for the UFC flyweight title in 2019. The former UFC bantamweight champion has been on the sidelines for over three years due to testing positive for the banned substance EPO.
As Dillashaw returns to the spotlight this weekend, he does so under a cloud of suspicion and with his past achievements scrutinized due to his doping record. However, during the UFC Vegas 32 media day Dillishaw claimed he wasn’t concerned about his reputation among fans and fellow fighters.
“Excuse my language, but fuck your reputation,” he said (ht MMA Weekly). “You know what I mean? You gotta worry about yourself. I have a great life. I have a great family. I’m just worried about my coaches, my teammates, my family. Other than that I could care less.
“I’ve been in this game too long to want to scroll through the comments and think what other people fucking think that are sitting behind their computers and not having anything to achieve for.”
Sandhagen is among those with a negative view of Dillashaw due to his doping past. He recently said what Dillashaw did was “a little bit gross” in his opinion.
“To put yourself in an illegal advantage in a one-on-one combat scenario and something that your really love, I mean, it’s gross,” said Sandhagen. “If there’s a word for it, it’s kinda just gross.”
Dillashaw touched on Sandhagen during his recent comments. In doing so, he claimed that he didn’t think Sandhagen had changed much from the fighter he was when they once trained together.
“He’s still the same fighter. He’s still the same guy. He’s still the same guy I trained with and I know that I can come out there and put a beating on him. So I’m excited for Saturday.”
Sandhagen comes into Saturday’s bout off of back-to-back highlight reel stoppages over Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar. He’ll be hoping that a win over Dillashaw might mean he gets next crack at the UFC bantamweight title—once the dispute between current champ Aljimain Sterling and Petr Yan is resolved.
Dillishaw will also be hoping that a win this weekend opens a path to a title shot. He first gained that title with a shock win over Renan Barao in 2014. He defended the title twice before losing the belt in a close decision to Dominick Cruz.
After beating Raphael Assuncao and John Lineker, Dillishaw won the belt a second time by beating former teammate Cody Garbrandt. He defended the title against Garbrandt, but had the belt taken from him when he tested positive for EPO.