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T.J. Dillashaw reveals his ‘biggest regret’ in MMA career

The former UFC champion is reflecting on his career, and there is one moment he regrets. 

T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 280.
T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 280.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

There is one thing T.J. Dillashaw regrets doing in his career.

On an episode of Food Truck Diaries with Brendan Schaub, the former UFC bantamweight champion reflected on his decision to cut from 135 to 125 for a champ vs. champ fight against then-UFC flyweight champion, Henry Cejudo in 2019. It was costly, as Dillashaw suffered some severe consequences during and after his fight with Cejudo at UFC Brooklyn. Not only did he lose by first-round TKO, but he also lost a few years of his career.

Dillashaw tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO), a banned substance he used to help with his cut. He received a two-year suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and could not return to the Octagon until 2021. When asked if that was one of his career regrets, Dillashaw said this:

“A hundred percent,” said Dillashaw. “I mean, that’s the biggest regret I have right now is cutting to 25s. Not only just getting in trouble, but just what I did to my body. Everyone seen that I got in trouble and I got suspended. But, dude, the six months after that of me bouncing back from that weight cut just destroyed my metabolism, looked like s—t, went through surgery. So, like, that was hard on me, it was hard on my hormones, it was hard on everything, man.”

If he could do it over again, Dillashaw claims he would not even consider using EPO, but he explained that his drive to accomplish certain goals is what led him to that career-altering decision.

“I wouldn’t have gotten in trouble, none of that s—t would have happened,” said Dillashaw. “So that would have been a big difference as well. So, yeah. That’s my biggest regret for sure, was trying to go down to 25s. The same thing as why I feel like I took this fight [against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 280] this last time, too, right? You just have the ultimate belief and a goal. When I put a goal in my head, I’m going to work my f—king ass off until I get it done. When I said I am going to be a double-champ going to down to 25s, it was like, ‘I’m getting it done’.”

In his return from suspension, Dillashaw won a controversial split decision over Cory Sandhagen, which set up a championship fight against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 280 in October. The 36-year-old dislocated his shoulder and lost to the ‘Funk Master’ by second-round TKO.

Months after his loss to Sterling, Dillashaw was removed from the UFC roster after notifying the promotion of his retirement. He left the sport with a record of 17-5.