Set to make his first Octagon appearance since completing his two-year retroactive USADA suspension back in January in the coming months, T.J. Dillashaw has revealed he’s open to a potential future re-run against Henry Cejudo.
Dillashaw, a former two-time undisputed bantamweight champion last featured against the Olympic gold medalist and former two-weight world champion at UFC Fight Night Brooklyn in January of 2019, dropping a quickfire opening round knockout loss as he unsuccessfully challenged for flyweight gold in his divisional debut.
The 35-year-old was slapped with a two-year retroactive suspension by anti-doping agency, USADA following the matchup, after he was informed some “adverse findings” had come to light in both a pre and post-fight drug test he had provided. Relinquishing his championship, Dillashaw tested positive for the banned substance, EPO (erythropoietin).
Consistently calling for an immediate title tilt in his return to the Octagon, Dillashaw maintains he never actually lost his bantamweight crown, given the fact he relinquished the title rather than losing it in active-competition.
Whilst yet to be booked officially for his Octagon comeback, Dillashaw was asked by former UFC welterweight contender, Mike Swick recently about his interest in avenging the above mentioned knockout loss to the now-retired Cejudo.
“I haven’t thought about a hit list exactly right, but yeah, he’s (Henry Cejudo) on it,” Dillashaw said during a recent episode of Real Quick with Mike Swick. “Just you saying his name it’s like, ‘Oh god,’ you know? ‘The King of Cringe’ did a good job of being cringy. It’s one of those fights that I was so much better going into that fight — don’t take anything away from him [though]. I think he’s an amazing athlete for winning an Olympic gold medal. I give him more credit for being an Olympic gold medalist than I do winning a UFC championship and that’s something because I’ve wrestled my whole life, that is quite amazing. But I’m so much of a better fighter than him — well-rounded wise.“
Cejudo, who retired following his successful bantamweight title defence against common-opposition, Dominick Cruz in May of last year, may have gained Dillashaw’s respect from his Olympic gold medal triumph, however, the Angels Camp native believes Cejudo isn’t as good as he perceives himself to be.
“The way that his (Cejudo’s) career worked out and the way that he stepped away from it was just like, he got so lucky,” Dillashaw said. “So that’s a fight that I want back because I don’t think he’s as good as he thinks he is, so that’s for sure on my hit list. First and foremost, (the) hit list for me, is just getting my belt back. Whatever path I have to take to get there, if it’s fighting all the guys in the top-five first, if it’s going straight to the belt, and then making sure I defend it and make a statement.“