Former two-time UFC bantamweight best, T.J. Dillashaw – has laid out his intentions to become a three-time titleholder upon his return to active competition in January of next year.

The Californian will be eligible to return to the Octagon in January 2021, following the completion of his two-year retroactive USADA suspension after he tested positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO).

Dillashaw made his flyweight division bow at UFC Fight Night Brooklyn in January of 2019, opposite then titleholder, Henry Cejudo. Following his first-round stoppage defeat, Dillashaw was informed by USADA of a potential anti-doping violation, before he decided to vacate his bantamweight championship.

The Ultimate Fighter 14 finalist had successfully defended his bantamweight crown the prior August, in a bad-blooded rematch with former titleholder and Team Alpha MMA teammate, Cody ‘No Love’ Garbrandt.

During the months since his suspension, Dillashaw has continually spoken of his intentions to earn the bantamweight championship on his return to the promotion, as soon as his first outing back from suspension. Taking to his official Instagram recently, the 34-year-old Bang Muay trainee wrote of his return – “My return will be here soon and ready (sic) to reclaim what’s mine! 👊🏻🏆

Successfully reclaiming his title back at UFC 217 opposite the aforenoted Garbrandt in their initial tie, Dillashaw managed a second-round knockout, after suffering a knockdown himself in the closing stages of the opening frame.

An eight-year Octagon veteran – Dillashaw has handed notable defeats to the previously mentioned, Garbrandt (x2), former titleholder and pound-for-pound leader, Renan Barão (x2), as well as victories over John Lineker, Raphael Assunção, and Joe Soto.

Since his decision to vacate the bantamweight crown – the division has welcomed the aforementioned Cejudo as titleholder, before his shock decision to retire from the sport, resulting in another vacant title matchup. At UFC 251 in July – undefeated striker, Petr ‘No Mercy’ Yan claimed the championship in a stoppage win over former featherweight best, José Aldo. Yan is expected to meet with number-one contender Aljamain ‘Funk Master’ Sterling in his first attempted title defence.

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Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.