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Morning Report: After he beats Aljamain Sterling, Petr Yan looking to fight T.J. Dillashaw

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

This past weekend, Conor McGregor returned to the UFC and got knocked out by Dustin Poirier. As with anytime McGregor fights, that story has been sucking up all the oxygen in the room, however, there’s another important return to MMA set to take place this year: former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw.

Last week, Dillashaw’s two-year USADA suspension officially ended, making him once again eligible to compete in MMA and there have already been a number of possible opponents suggested for Dillashaw’s return. Thus far, the front-runner appears to be second-ranked bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen; however, there’s a new possibility on the horizon, and immediate title shot against Petr Yan.

Yan is set to defend his title against top contender Aljamain Sterling on at UFC 259 in March. But speaking to Fanatics View, the bantamweight champion suggested that after he beats Sterling, he could be interested in a fight with Dillashaw.

“Edgar, older. It’s not big,” Yan said, discussing potential opponents. “Fan base is not good. Sandhagen, he lose to Sterling. I think maybe Dillashaw. T.J. Dillashaw is back after doping tests. I want a fight with him.”

This is a big of a change of heart from Yan. Dillashaw has been out since 2019 when he was caught taking EPO by USADA following his failed attempt to drop down to flyweight and claim a second UFC belt. In preparation for his return, Dillashaw called for an immediate title shot against the winner of Yan-Sterling but both men shot the idea down. Now it appears Yan has changed his tune, so long as Dillashaw isn’t on the gas.

“It’s up to the UFC,” Yan said via translator. “However they decide, if the term is right, then I’m going to fight him whenever. Just let’s make sure that he’s not going to use anything prohibited this time...

“I think it’s a real great fight and I win. He’s older. He took two years, don’t fight and now, if I remember, he’s 34 years. It’s older for bantamweight division.”

Dillashaw will turn 35 next month but that’s actually not drastically older than much of the rest of the division. In fact, four of the top-10 ranked fighters in the UFC are 34 or older. However, the big layoff for Dillashaw could certainly be cause for concern, and if the UFC wants to offer Yan someone else, he’d be okay with that too, just so long as it’s a fighting befitting his status as champion.

“It needs (to be) a big fight,” Yan said. “If I win easy (over) Sterling, next fight have to be very big.”


TOP STORIES

Schadenfreude. Justin Gaethje on Dustin Poirier’s KO of Conor McGregor: ‘Seeing a piece of sh*t get put down, that was great’.

Trilogy. Mike Brown: Trilogy with Conor McGregor possible, but ‘what Dustin Poirier is fighting for is to be world champion’.

Storms. Coach Firas Zahabi: Conor McGregor faded in face of Dustin Poirier attack – ‘he’s not used to weathering storms’.

USADA. Raquel Pennington accepts six-month USADA suspension after self-reporting doping violation.

Woo. Michael Chandler receives congratulatory call from Ric Flair, UFC 257 promo mashup.


VIDEO STEW

Between the Links.

UFC 258 Preview.

Good series from the UFC here.

UFC fighters reacting to backyard fights.


LISTEN UP

It’s Time. Interviews with Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

FYI, there is a UFC Athlete Code of Conduct Policy that would seem to cover this exact thing. Pity it’s rarely enforced.

This.

Yep.

Also, don’t let Sean O’Malley off the hook here. He also said some egregiously stupid shit.

Train with an MMA fighter to learn MMA angles. Galaxy Brain.

Clout chasing.

Get him.

I would pay all the money to watch this.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Yousef Zalal (10-3) vs. Seung Woo Choi (8-3); UFC Vegas 18, Feb. 6.

Kai Kara-France (21-9, 1 NC) vs. Rogerio Bontorin (16-2, 1 NC); UFC 259, Mar. 6.

Kennedy Nzechukwu (7-1) vs. Carlos Ulberg (3-0); UFC 259, Mar. 6.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all on Monday.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Would it bother you if T.J. Dillashaw got an immediate title shot upon his return?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    Yes
    (465 votes)
  • 36%
    No
    (272 votes)
737 votes total Vote Now

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