T.J. Dillashaw is open to fighting José Aldo, but only on one condition: the fight has to wait until after he wins the bantamweight championship again.
Dillashaw returned to the Octagon against Cory Sandhagen at UFC Vegas 32 in July after completing a two-year suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Defeating Sandhagen saw Dillashaw re-enter the conversation of title contention and the former two-time bantamweight champion has already made it clear that he would like to meet the winner of Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan 2 next. However, following his impressive win over Pedro Munhoz at UFC 265 in August, Aldo said that a fight between him and Dillashaw would be a “great” one and hoped that it could be made soon.
Dillashaw has since responded to Aldo and indicated that the fight could definitely happen, just not as soon as the fellow former champion would have liked.
“Yeah, I like the callout,” Dillashaw told Submission Radio. “I would like to fight José Aldo. He’s a legend of our sport, and we can do it after I get my belt back.
“I’ve actually been called out by I think every fighter in the, for sure top five, if not top ten, after they won a fight before I came back and fought Sandhagen. I swear every fighter called me out because it makes sense. I mean, I’m the true champion of the division, and you’re trying to build your name off of me, thinking that I’ve been out for two years, that I’m coming off all this drama [and] that I’m not going to be the same fighter. And Sandhagen made that mistake as well and now he’s having to go further back to try and get to the title.”
Dillashaw is currently recovering from a knee surgery required to repair the multiple tears he sustained in his fight with Sandhagen, but is not expecting to be on the sidelines for very long. He believes he will be ready in time for a fight against whoever emerges victorious between Sterling and Yan, so he is focused on preparing himself for that and what comes next should he win his title back.
When asked if he would consider Aldo as his first title defense, Dillashaw did not fully commit to that being a possibility because of another contender ahead of him the division, but reiterated his interest in fighting him eventually.
“Shoot, man. The division is so stacked. It depends, man. You got Rob Font that’s making a name for himself. You got Aldo. I mean, one of those two guys definitely seem like they are up for the challenge. But Yan did just beat Aldo, right? I don’t know. I mean, just Aldo’s name alone makes it interesting, right? Like I would love that fight. So yeah, maybe it is going to be my first fight as a champ because José Aldo is a legend in the sport. I remember him in the WEC before I even had my first professional fight. He was fighting Urijah [Faber] when I was training there, so the guy has been on the top of the world for a long time. So it would be a dope fight.”