A victory over current undisputed UFC bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling next weekend for former two-weight division champion, T.J. Dillashaw would land the Angels Camp native as the first three-time titleholder at bantamweight in the promotion. And according to him, would score him GOAT status at 135lbs as a result.

Scheduled to co-headline UFC 280 next weekend on ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Dillashaw will compete for the undisputed bantamweight title against Uniondale native, Sterling – with the latter looking to retain his crown and secure his second championship knockback. 

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Last time out, Dillashaw headlined against common-opponent, Cory Sandhagen back in July of last year, defeating the Colorado native in a close, split decision victory. 

Dillashaw returned from a two-year retroactive USADA suspension in his win against Sandhagen, after he tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) following a January 2020 knockout loss to Henry Cejudo in his pursuit for flyweight gold.

T.J. Dillashaw plans to solidify his status as bantamweight GOAT

Along with past opponent, Dominick Cruz, Dillashaw is the only other two-time undisputed bantamweight champion in the history of the division. And according to the Duane Ludwig trainee, a win over Sterling would, in turn, solidify his claim as the greatest bantamweight of all time.

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“When I’m champ again it’s going to be great,” T.J. Dillashaw told ESPN during a recent interview. “I never left. I never lost my belt in this weight class. Yeah, I was stripped, but I never actually physically lost it. People forget how dominant I was because I hadn’t been in there. I hadn’t been performing. I hold a lot of records in the bantamweight division and just because of the time off, they forget.”

“So I’m going to have to remind them all who the best is, who the best pound-for-pound is, and that 135 pound GOAT, I’m coming for it,” T.J. Dillashaw explained.

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During his Octagon tenure, Dillashaw has defeated the likes of Renan Barao, Raphael Assuncao, John Lineker, Cody Garbrandt, and the aforenoted, Sandhagen.

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.