Home MMA NewsLatest News Morning Briefing: T.J. Dillashaw insists he remains the top bantamweight ‘by a long shot,’ and pledges to make a comeback if his shoulder recovers

Morning Briefing: T.J. Dillashaw insists he remains the top bantamweight ‘by a long shot,’ and pledges to make a comeback if his shoulder recovers

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Early retirement was thrust upon T.J. Dillashaw due to injuries.

During what turned out to be his last fight in the octagon, it was evident that Dillashaw would require another recovery break due to a severe shoulder dislocation. His defeat by TKO in the second round to bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling at UFC 280 was just a peek into the ongoing physical battles he’d been grappling with. Consequently, it prompted his premature departure from MMA, even though this wasn’t his intention.

Dillashaw confessed on the Jaxxon Podcast, “I had no desire to retire. It’s been a tough pill to swallow. Being around the sport lately, even assisting my sparring partner Juan Archuleta in his championship fight in Japan’s RIZIN, has been a struggle for me. It’s been challenging to accept being forced out of the sport while still being part of it. Also, my career just sort of unfolded the way it did towards the end — it’s really bitter, you know?

“All the physicians I’ve consulted, all shoulder specialists, have informed me that they cannot sufficiently restore me to fight again. Doctors aren’t always correct but I need to undergo major shoulder surgery. Right now, I’m waiting for some cadaver parts. I require a cadaver’s shoulder head bone.”

Even as his career hit its stride, Dillashaw was known for his striking prowess, but he always maintained a robust wrestling foundation. However, Dillashaw was helpless against Sterling’s takedowns and grappling situations, unable to mount an effective offense as a one-armed fighter.

Dillashaw commented, “I was fighting against someone I really matched up well with. Aljamain Sterling was — is — the title holder, but I don’t think he’s that exceptional. Sure, he’s got great grappling, he’s got some sneaky back takes but his stand-up isn’t at all menacing. I could let him hit me as hard as he wanted and nothing would come of it.”

Dillashaw knew that shoulder surgery was inevitable, which made the fight feel like a last-ditch effort. After a year-long hiatus due to a knee injury, Dillashaw now hopes to address his shoulder issue next month once the necessary cadaver parts are obtained.

If he can return to stable health, Dillashaw mentioned that he’d entertain a rematch with Dominick Cruz. Cruz had dethroned Dillashaw by a split decision in January 2016 after a hiatus of his own.

Whether another title shot is even in the cards, “The Viper” just wants the chance to conclude his career on his terms.

Dillashaw stated, “I firmly believe that I’m still the top contender in the weight class, by a long shot. For me to be stripped of the sport in this manner, it doesn’t sit right with me… If the shoulder heals, man, I absolutely have to get back in there. I can’t let it end the way it did.”


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RingSideSeat August 7, 2023 - 11:20 pm

Respect to Dillashaw for pushing through the pain. It ain’t easy retiring when u still got that fire in you.

OctagonQueen August 8, 2023 - 3:30 am

tjs always been a fighter, I trust him when he says he’s still the best. heal up champ!

Dave_FightFan August 8, 2023 - 8:58 am

Man, tj was a beast back in the day. can’t wait to see him back in the ring, shoulder all fixed. Gonna be fireworks.

BantamweightLover August 8, 2023 - 11:51 am

a rematch with cruz?!? yes pls. let’s see if tj can turn the tables this time.

MMAEnthusiast August 8, 2023 - 12:18 pm

I don’t know if he can still be the top contender, those injuries sound brutal.. Hope he recovers fully tho.


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