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TJ Dillashaw returns to the Octagon after two years at UFC Vegas 32 on Saturday.
TJ Dillashaw returns to the Octagon on Saturday after a two-year absence due to a USADA suspension. The ruling was handed over to Dillashaw in March 2019 after he tested positive for EPO.
Dillashaw was candid about his use of EPO, claiming he was only using it to drop to flyweight, in a bid to become a two-division champion. Dillashaw’s return has been long anticipated and the UFC even produced a documentary series on his return in their UFC Chronicles series.
The former UFC men’s bantamweight champion is now 35 years old and says he is destined to retake the championship that was taken from him after his positive test. Dillashaw is 12-4 in the UFC and will face Cory Sandhagen as an underdog on Saturday for the third time in his career.
A Brief History of TJ Dillashaw’s UFC Career
Dillashaw signed with the UFC in 2011, coming out of the NCAA’s Pac-10 as a wrestling prospect. Dillashaw finished his senior year at California State University at Fullerton in 2009 and placed 10th in the nation in his weight class, and was a three-time NCAA Championship qualifier.
Dillashaw first entered the UFC on December 3, 2011, in the Ultimate Fighter 14 Final against John Dodson, losing the fight via first-round TKO.
From there, Dillashaw would continue a four-fight win streak, taking victories in three of his four fights from 2012 through the end of 2013.
The next loss of his UFC career came in an overnight fight against Raphael Assuncao in October 2013, which lost by a controversial split decision.
Dillashaw recovered from his loss to Assuncao with a solid performance against Mike Eaton in January 2014. The win put him back in the bantamweight title picture and in the driver’s seat for a series of events that would change the course of his career. forward.
TJ Dillashaw’s first championship reign
In May 2014, then-UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao faced Raphael Assunção, who had been hot a few months earlier from his recent win over Dillashaw. However, due to a rib injury sustained in his fight with Dillashaw, Assuncao was unable to take the fight.
With the main and co-main event of UFC 173 fallen off the map, the UFC put Renan Barao in the spotlight as he defended his UFC gold against a short-term replacement in Dillashaw.
In what was one of the biggest upset wins in UFC history, Dillashaw defeated Barao by fifth round TKO to capture the UFC Bantamweight Championship.
Dillashaw would defend the title Barao again a year later, in July 2015, this time as the strong betting favourite. Dillashaw won the match via TKO 35 seconds into the fourth round.
Dillashaw would then relinquish his championship to Dominick Cruz at UFC Boston in early 2016. Dillashaw lost the fight via split decision but still managed to pick up a fight from the night bonus.
After losing the title, Dillashaw returned to the Octagon at the historic UFC 200 in Las Vegas. Dillashaw would face Raphael Assuncao again, in a 2013 rematch, Dillashaw took the decisive win over Assuncao and avenged his loss to Brazillian three years earlier.
Dillashaw made his third UFC appearance in 2016 against John Lineker at UFC 207 in December, taking the decision win. Just a few weeks later, it would be announced that Dillashaw would be one of the coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 25.
TJ Dillashaw’s Second UFC Championship
Dillashaw then defeated UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrant by second-round TKO at UFC 217 in November 2017. The win marked Dillashaw’s second title of his career.
Dillashaw would defend the championship against Garbrant a year later at UFC 227 in Los Angeles, defeating him again by first-round knockout. The win marked Dillashaw’s third successful title defense in his career, in two separate title regimes.
Dillashaw vs. Cejudo Superfight and USADA Suspension
Dillashaw would make a bid to become the fourth fighter in UFC history to become a two-division champion as he descended one weight class to take on UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo. Dillashaw’s flyweight debut didn’t go as planned as Cejudo won the bout in just thirty-two seconds and won by TKO.
Dillashaw tested positive for erythropoietin in both pre- and post-fight drug tests, and was stripped of his UFC bantamweight championship in March 2019 and given a two-year suspension.
Dillashaw returns to the UFC Octagon on Saturday at UFC Vegas 32 against former Team Elevation training partner Cory Sandhagen.
UFC Vegas 32 will take place on July 24, 2021, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided at the cage for all your live news and highlights.
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