The former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw was looking to reclaim his crown this weekend at UFC 280. Dillashaw met the reigning champion Aljamain Sterling and lost via second-round TKO. The former champion had entered this fight with a major shoulder injury which was evident throughout the bout.
It was clear that the 36-year-old Dillashaw’s shoulder was continuously dislocating in the match. In between rounds, his coach Duane ‘Bang’ Ludwig would pop it back into place. In the second round, it popped out again, and Dillashaw attempted to fix it during the fight.
UFC Hall of Fame fighter Cub Swanson worked with TJ Dillashaw going into this world title showdown and claimed that TJ could scarcely lift his arm even six weeks before the fight. On Twitter, he said:
“When I worked with TJ about 5-6 weeks before this fight he couldn’t even lift his left arm….it’s the truth.”
Fans commented on this Tweet and said that it was a dumb idea to fight with such a severe injury. Swanson Tweeted again in defense of Dillashaw and said:
“Why do fighters fight injured? Because we are crazy and always believe we can win. Also we are taught to push thru pain and to always seize an opportunity.”
TJ Dillashaw discusses his shoulder injury
Going into his title match at UFC 280, TJ Dillashaw knew that his shoulder was in trouble. The American-born fighter even warned the referee ahead of time and instructed the official to not stop the match if his shoulder happened to get dislocated. In the post-fight interview, the 36-year-old former titleholder explained:
“I told the ref in the back before we came out that most likely, the shoulder’s gonna pop out. If it does, I’ll get it back in, please do not stop it. Unfortunately, in the second round, I couldn’t push off my shoulder.”
Dillashaw knew his shoulder would not make it through the fight because it popped out during training more than twenty times he claims. TJ continued:
“I gotta apologize to the weight class. Kind of held it up. I completely blew my shoulder out at the end of April, as soon as I was getting ready for this. I probably dislocated it a good 20 times throughout training camp. This is by far the toughest training camp I’ve been through because of that.” [Transcript courtesy of Bloody Elbow]
See TJ Dillashaw’s full post-fight interview below: