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Reports of TJ Dillashaw’s retirement swirl as fighter removed from UFC rankings

Former UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw, has been removed from the UFC rankings due to an expected lengthy recovery from a shoulder injury suffered early in 2022.

The UFC’s former bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw, has been officially removed from the promotion’s in-house rankings.

Dillashaw sparked controversy back in October when he entered his UFC 280 title shot against Aljmain Sterling with a preexisting shoulder injury. His shoulder dislocated early in the opening round. And while Dillashaw somehow toughed it out until his corner could put it back in place between rounds, it dislocated again in the second round, forcing the referee to wave off the fight due to TKO at the 3:44 mark of round-two.

Dillashaw went on the record to disclose that his shoulder had been plaguing him all training camp, after he injured it initially in April, but that he decided to show up and fight anyway. Some fans were understanding of a man pushing through a severe injury to collect a paycheck, while others felt like that decision was selfish and it cheated everyone out of a legitimate competition.

A Twitter bot that scans the UFC website for changes just recently posted that Dillashaw had been removed from the promotion’s rankings pool of eligible fighters, but Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie spoke with TJ’s team who clarified things. The team stated that Dillashaw has ‘NOT’ been released from the UFC, and that he has ‘NOT’ retired from MMA. The removal from the rankings was due to an expected long recovery process for his shoulder.

However, countering that narrative, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani just posted an update to the story—saying that he spoke to Dillashaw’s manager, Tiki Ghosn, who announced that TJ was in fact retiring from MMA competition. Helwani mentioned that Dillashaw informed the UFC of his decision about two-weeks ago, and that the 36-year-old expects to have a very long road to recovery ahead of him.

“Basically around a month ago, he had the shoulder surgery coming off the Aljamain Sterling fight,” Helwani explained. “And afterwards, when he met with his surgeon, the surgeon told him that it’s going to be a long road—and there’s a chance that he might need a second surgery down the line; that it’s a very delicate injury, that it’s one of the worst injuries to a shoulder that that particular surgeon had ever seen... [Dillashaw] told Tiki that he wanted to walk away, that he had had enough. It came as a shock to both Tiki and the UFC, I’m told.”

It’s unclear exactly what the future holds for Dillashaw. If the former UFC bantamweight champion is calling it a career, then he will be leaving the sport with a highly impressive overall record of 17-5 as well as two stints with the title at 135 lbs.