Why T.J. Dillashaw’s UFC Return Will Be Interesting Viewing
The highly controversial T.J. Dillashaw is about to return to the UFC, after serving a two-year suspension from all competition. Dillashaw was banned for such a lengthy amount of time due to testing positive for performance-enhancing substances. The former UFC bantamweight titleholder will enter the octagon again to face Cory Sandhagen on 24th July at UFC Fight Night 192, which will be held in Las Vegas at the UFC Apex.
His last fight came way back on January 19th 2019, which was a loss by TKO, just thirty-two seconds into the bout against Henry Cejudo. However, a few months later in March 2019, he was stripped of the bantamweight belt, due to the NYSAC and USADA finding out that he was taking banned substances. The fighter, whose nickname is ‘Lieutenant Dan’, also admitted to taking the substances voluntarily, and posted a long apology video on his Instagram. Yet his apology was nowhere near enough for a lot of people, including his upcoming opponent Sandhagen, who was incensed at the idea of Dillashaw coming back and getting a bantamweight title shot before him, saying it would be ‘disrespectful to the sport’, as at Full Contact Fighter. So, now that the two are going to square off, it’s clear that there isn’t any love lost between them.
It will be fascinating to see how Dillashaw does after so long spent away from the UFC, as any fight is never straightforward, but especially when you’ve been sitting out for two years. One of the biggest problems facing the returning fighter is the fact that he’s now two years older than he was, which means he’s now thirty-five years old. A year in the MMA world is a long time and every year in a fighter’s life, after they hit thirty, means they lose a little bit of speed and strength. Plus, in the bantamweight division, speed is king, and now that Dillashaw is past his prime, will he still have the quickness needed to put away Sandhagen, let alone go on to be a proper contender again?
It’s clear from looking at Dillashaw’s Instagram that he has been training extremely hard to get back to a competitive level, but all the intense workouts and sparring sessions in the world can’t compare to a UFC event; whereas Sandhagen’s last fight was only back in February, where he ruthlessly destroyed Frankie Edgar with a savage flying knee. There is absolutely no doubt that Sandhagen comes into this fight as the clear favorite, and bookmakers agree pricing him at 7/15 compared to Dillashaw’s price of 13/9.
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