Former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw intends to fight for the belt as soon as he gets back to fighting.
The American(16-4) still has roughly eight months remaining in a two-year suspension issued by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency beginning in January 2019. The then-UFC bantamweight champ tested positive for banned substances around the time of a quick TKO loss to then-flyweight champ Henry Cejudo.
The doping fiasco caused TJ to relinquish his belt and since then he’s been out of the fight game. But now the 34-year-old fighter is ready to start his comeback and his goal is to occupy the top of the mountain.
“I was told I would get that title fight when I came back, but that doesn’t mean anything,” Dillashaw told MMA Junkie. “I made a mistake – I don’t own rights to anything. But if it was my choice, it would be a title fight, if not top-five to prove I should get that title fight. I think that makes sense.
“I’m hoping they just throw me to the dogs. If I can’t get that title fight, I want someone in the top five so that I can get my title fight. I’m not here to play around. I want my belt back. It’s still mine. I’ll be ready.”
At first, it was super tough,” Dillashaw said. “Then I went through two shoulder surgeries back-to-back, so that kind of added to it. Down in the dumps. On top of the world, then down as far to the bottom as you can get. It was tough. I’m not going to lie. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t. At first, it was real, real tough. But I’ve always been mentally strong.
“I work my ass off and this has actually been – I wouldn’t choose to do this – but one of the best breaks I’ve had ever. I’ve got to focus on other parts of my life. I did something I highly regret and I’ve owned up to it and paid the price for it. I hate to say it’s a blessing in disguise because I would never choose to do it again, but it is.”