Former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw is hoping for an immediate title shot when he returns to fighting later this year.
Dillashaw has just finished serving a two-year drug suspension stemming from a positive test for EPO following his failed flyweight title bid against Henry Cejudo in January 2019.
Now he’s served his ban, Dillashaw is ready to get straight back into big fights and speculation has been building about who he will face next.
“I’m ready to go straight for the belt, if that’s the opportunity that comes at me because I know Yan wants it.” Dillashaw told Mike Swick on the “Real Quick with Mike Swick” podcast. “He’s already been vocally talking about it and we’ll see what happens on March 6 when he fights Sterling. He’s got a tough test ahead of him, but that’s the fight he wants. I didn’t leave this sport by losing my belt. He knows there’s a lot of speculation if he’s the real champ because he hasn’t beaten the champion to get that belt, so he wants it. As well as that, I’m the biggest draw for him right now to try to fight.”
Dillashaw is hoping the fact he has been on the side-lines for so long will increase his chances of getting a immediate crack at current 135lb champ Petr Yan.
“Maybe he’s thinking me coming back for my first fight might be the best time to catch me as well, too. To try and catch me slipping. But I mean, that’s what I want. The ultimate goal for me is to be the champion. The greatest things come to you when you’re champion, the goal is to be champion, so why not get out there and get it done.”
If a title shot doesn’t come straight away Dillashaw says he’s expressed a willingness to fight anyone in the top five.
“I’m in a good situation,” Dillashaw said. “I think everyone in the top five has called me out. I want to come back and fight the best. I’m 35 years old now, I’ve got a lot of things in life going on, so I want to come back and prove that I’m the best bantamweight of all time, and I want to come back and fight the best. If that’s for the belt right away then so be it. If that’s fighting someone else in the top five, awesome.
“Every person that’s called me out, I’ve said yes to the UFC, so that’s just showing them that I’m eager to get back in there. So it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s someone that’s at the top of the game, because I’m gonna climb up and get that belt back fast.” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)
Who do you think TJ Dillashaw should fight?