Two-time UFC Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw is chomping at the bit to get back into the Octagon. His demands include a return shot at the division title against incumbent winner Petr Yan. Dillashaw is currently serving a two-year suspension for failing a drug test. It was discovered that recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) was found in his testing sample. rHuEPO is a recombinant form of the hormone erythropoietin, which is a hormone which increases endogenous red cell production. rHuEPO produces higher haematocrit values and haemoglobin levels than transfusion alone in patients with cancer-related anaemia.
Dillashaw has less than two months on his sentence before he becomes eligible for return. He has his sights set on a March return with future plans to face the winner of the Petr Yan-Aljamain Sterling title bout scheduled for early 2021.
All I want for Christmas 🎄 is for you get back soon in the octagon. Can’t wait to see you fight bud. Go get them @ufc
— Matthew Neville (@neville_mma) December 2, 2020
Social media is also anticipating Dillashaw’s long-awaited return, whether they are welcoming supporters or disgruntled naysayers.
Yes it’s December an yes we excited for christmas! It’s a nice tweet from T.J to make it seem like he ain’t a steroid taking cheater lol
— Lip Labeau (@LabeauLip) December 2, 2020
Dillashaw spoke with ESPN about his long term goals where he would like to continue where he left off before his punishment was handed to him
“I want that title,” Dillashaw told ESPN. “I want it right away because you’ve got a guy, Petr Yan, who beat someone for a belt that was 0-2 in the weight division. Jose Aldo had two losses (at bantamweight), and (Yan) beat him for a title. So how are you calling yourself a champion? To me, you’re an interim champion. That belt has changed hands every fight. There’s no one that has been dominant. That is my belt, so I want to come back – I want that title fight.”
Should Dillashaw’s request for a title shot be denied, he’s open to taking a fight against other top contenders such as Cory Sandhagen. Sandhagen finished off Marlon Moraes back in October at UFC on ESPN+ 37 in Abu Dhabi. Otherwise, if Dillashaw continues to press for a title shot, he may have to push the matchmakers harder to produce it. Given the circumstances surrounding him, he may have to start from scratch due to his suspension. To face the champion, whoever that may be, he’ll have to work off the ring rust even further to be more than ready for a prime-time battle.
As for the defending champion, here is a response to what seems to be a lofty request from a man who has been there and done that twice.
"How are you calling yourself a champion? You're an interim champion."
Based on the opponents they faced, @TJDillashaw doesn't feel Petr Yan or Henry Cejudo were true bantamweight champions 👀 (via @bokamotoESPN) pic.twitter.com/FMm8VPzP6y
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) December 3, 2020
If Yan can knock off Sterling at the start of the year and Dillashaw repays his dues, there is no question fans of the 135-lb weight class would be ecstatic to see the two-time champ take on the current one.