clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

‘It’s hard to like the guy’, T. J. Dillashaw rips ‘pathetic’ Aljamain Sterling for comments in the build-up to UFC 280

T.J. Dillashaw will try and become a three-time UFC champion on Saturday.

T.J. Dillshaw at the UFC 227 weigh-ins.
T.J. Dillshaw at the UFC 227 weigh-ins.
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

T.J. Dillashaw fights for the UFC bantamweight title this weekend at UFC 280. Standing in his way, at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, is reigning champ Aljamain Sterling.

Dillashaw makes his way back into the title picture after a close win over Cory Sandhagen. That win came after a lengthy suspension stemming from a positive test for the banned substance EPO.

During the build-up to UFC 280, Sterling has said that he assumes Dillashaw is still using performance-enhancing drugs. In August he said “once a cheater, always a cheater”, referring to Dillashaw.

MMA Fighting asked Dillashaw about Sterling’s PED comments. The former champion said it showed a certain amount of insecurity on the part of ‘Funk Master’.

T.J. Dillashaw Plans To ‘Run Through’ Aljamain Sterling At UFC 280, Talks Jose Aldo’s Retirement

“To me, he’s already building up excuses,” he said. “He knows he’s got this fight in front of him. He knows he’s got me that’s going to be standing right in front of him that’s going to rip his fucking head off, and he’s creating an excuse to why he’s going to lose already.

“But it’s hard to like the guy. And he probably isn’t that bad of a guy, he’s just trying too hard. He might be, I don’t know, a bit insecure. He should be because he’s fighting me and I’m going to fucking run through him, so he’s going to be a little insecure with that. He’s going to be on top for just this one fight. The way he got the belt was pathetic. Yeah, he defended it, but that’s going to be his only real win on top.

“It is what it is, man. I just got to get out there, get the work done, and continue building up records. I want to continue to get the most finishes in this division. You’ve got guys like [Marlon] ‘Chito’ Vera that are knocking everyone out left and right, so I need to get some finishes, and I need to fucking fight more often than a year apart with these injuries.”

Dillashaw went on to compare his and Sterling’s legacies, and popularity, in the UFC. He admitted that he’s not a fan favourite, but made it obvious he wouldn’t want to trade places with Sterling.

“I’ve given people a reason to hate on me,” he said. “But the reason why people hate him is because he’s just a douchebag and is a boring fighter. Maybe that’s why it’s flown under the radar. He’s never been in those drag-out wars that you see Oliveira getting into to become a champion and continue to prove himself, or had some of the fights that I’ve been in through the title fights, some of the title defenses I’ve been through, and the records that I hold for knockouts. So I’m looking to clean this boring champion out and [go on a] run of serious knockouts in the bantamweight division.”

Dillashaw shocked the world when he came in as a short notice replacement in a title fight against Renan Barao in 2014. As a massive underdog, Dillashaw dismantled Barao — winning the bantamweight title by fifth round TKO.

After a defence against Joe Soto, who was coming in short notice, Dillashaw rematched Barao. He won by fourth round TKO that time.

In 2016 Dillashaw lost the title to Dominick Cruz on a razor thin split decision. He then beat Raphael Assuncao and John Lineker to earn a title shot versus former training partner Cody Garbrandt.

Dillashaw TKO’d his rival inside the second round. Garbrandt was given an immediate rematch, which ended in a first round KO win for Dillashaw.

In 2019 Dillashaw moved down in weight to challenge UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo. Dillashaw lost that bout by TKO, his first stoppage loss since his UFC debut fight against John Dodson in 2011.

After the Cejudo fight it was revealed that Dillashaw tested positive for EPO.

Sterling vs. Dillashaw is the co-main event at UFC 280. The main event sees Charles Oliveira take on Islam Makhachev for the vacant UFC lightweight title.