T.J. Dillashaw should be back in the Octagon by early next year.
Dillashaw recently returned to competition following the completion of a two-year suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and defeated Cory Sandhagen by way of split decision at UFC Vegas 32 in July. It was a gritty performance from Dillashaw, who fought his way through a significant injury sustained during the first round of the fight.
Days after his fight with Sandhagen, Dillashaw revealed that he would be undergoing surgery to repair multiple tears found in his left knee and needed time to recuperate before returning again. The former two-time bantamweight champion was actually issued a potential six-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), but told Brendan Schaub on the UFC 265: Calabasas Fight Companion that he does not expect to be out that long.
“I had a medial meniscus bucket tear, a lateral meniscus tear and a PCL tear,” said Dillashaw. “Almost everything. I’m just glad it wasn’t ACL. I actually am happy with the results [because] it would’ve been nine months [for recovery of an ACL tear]. Like I’m looking at a three-month recovery right now until I can get back to good training, fight for the title at the beginning of next year.”
Dillashaw had surgery this past Thursday and it was successful. He went on to recount the very moment that he injured himself and shed light on the decisions he made that led up to his knee popping. It was initially believed to be due to an applied leg lock from Sandhagen, but Dillashaw said that was not the case.
“The last 30 seconds of the round, I was in like a lazy leglock,” said Dillashaw. “We were in the 50/50 position and I was completely out of it, but I was kind of like chilling. I knew I won the round, so I was like f—k it, I’m just gonna sit on top, let the round finish out. But then he turned and started trying to punch me and I was like, ‘Alright, b—tch’ so I came back for my own ground-and-pound, right? So, I came in hard on my own leg and started grounding-and-pounding and he didn’t get me from the leglock. It was when we got into a scramble and he tried getting back to his feet, and I tried standing on top, so I leaned my chest over my body. At the same time, my knees — my LCL just went, ‘pop’.
“It was loud, dude,” continued Dillashaw. “I’m super surprised he didn’t hear it or feel it because I know I even heard it when it happened. So I knew that I was [hurt]. As soon as the round was over, I limped back to my corner and I sat down and I was like, ‘Dude, my knee is f—ked’. Instantly, that was the first thing I said. They bleeped it out on TV because it’s ESPN and I said f—k.”
Dillashaw has already stated that he would like to meet the winner of the championship rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan scheduled for UFC 267 in October. He knew he was going to wait for that opportunity, which gave him more time to recover from surgery.
Should something happen that were to bar him from fighting the winner of Sterling vs. Yan 2 though, Dillashaw has elicited a respectful call-out from a fellow former champion and ranked contender in José Aldo.