T.J. Dillashaw says he’s willing to be an alternate for the UFC bantamweight title fight in October, despite carrying multiple nagging injuries.
Dillashaw made a successful return to the octagon at UFC Vegas 32 on Saturday by defeating #2 ranked bantamweight Corey Sandhagen. The razor thin split-decision victory (47-48, 48-47, 48-47) was Dillashaw’s first fight since serving a two-year USADA suspension for testing positive to EPO.
Fans were treated to a bloody back-forth which saw former bantamweight champ Dillashaw stamp his place as next in line for a title shot against either Aljamain Sterling or Petr Yan, who will face off at UFC 267 in October.
The 35-year-old out-grappled Sandhagen to get his fist raised for the first time since defending his title against Cody Garbrandt three years ago. The win didn’t come without overcoming adversity, however.
In round one, Dillashaw ate a trademark Sandhagen flying knee to the face, before being forced to escape a triangle choke. In round two, Sandhagen opened up a grisly cut between Dillashaw’s right eye and nose, forcing T.J. to wipe blood from his eye for most of the fight.
T.J. Dillashaw Says He’s Keen To Step In At UFC 267 Despite Injuries
It seems it wasn’t just a game opponent that Dillashaw was forced to overcome in his latest victory. Speaking at the UFC Vegas 32 post-fight press conference, T.J. revealed that he carried multiple injuries into the Sandhagen fight thanks to a gruelling camp.
“I had a really, really, really rough camp. I didn’t even spar this whole camp. The first camp going we were supposed to fight May 8th. Camp went smooth. Other than getting cut, I was able to spar. Camp was going good. The second camp around, I could not stay healthy. The first injury was I pinched this nerve in my foot doing a slider board. And up until two days ago, I had to work out with shoes on. It was like the worst thing I could have been dealing with. And I tore my MCL in my right knee and hurt my left shoulder as well, too, through the whole camp. So it was a real rough camp. And I didn’t want to obviously talk about it because I didn’t want to make no excuses. I just needed to get out there. (It’s) been too f’n long. There was no way I was gonna pull off from the fight,” said Dillashaw.
Despite these injuries, and the gaping cut which he sustained in his latest outing, Dillashaw is still eager to get back into the octagon as soon as possible. Asked if he’s open to being an alternate for the bantamweight title fight at UFC 267, T.J. answered emphatically in the affirmative.
“Sure….I want to fight for the belt, man. Hell yeah,” said Dillashaw.
Watch T.J. Dillashaw’s interview at the post-fight press conference:
What do you think? Will T.J. Dillashaw be able to regain his title against Aljamain Sterling or Petr Yan?