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Morning Report: T.J. Dillashaw takes a shot at Cory Sandhagen: ‘He’s become a little bit of a douche lately’

T.J. Dillashaw
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

In March it was announced that former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw would fight second-ranked Cory Sandhagen in the headliner of a Fight Night event on May 8 and now, with a little over a month until they face each other in the cage, Dillashaw is starting to build a little heat for the fight.

Dillashaw—who has been out for the last two years serving a suspension for EPO use—recently spoke with ESPN where he took a shot at Sandhagen for some comments the rising contender made about him.

“I like Cory Sandhagen,” Dillashaw said. “He’s become a little bit of a douche lately, talking that s*** which he’s gotta do, that’s the name of the game, but I like Cory Sandhagen. I like all of his coaches, I like Elevation Fight Team, but that’s the business. We’re gonna get out there, we’re gonna handle it, and I’m gonna come back and get my belt.”

Dillashaw and Sandhagen have a bit of a history, training together back when Dillashaw was the champion. However, following his 28-second KO of Frankie Edgar at UFC Vegas 18, Sandhagen caught Dillashaw with some stray shade when sniping at then-bantamweight champion Petr Yan for calling for a fight with Dillashaw, saying that Dillashaw was “coming off some of the most serious PEDs that you can do in the sport” and calling it disrespectful to the sport and to him. While this statement is objectively true, it still irked Dillashaw.

“Oh just talking s*** about how me failing a drug test and then something about me taking the worst steroid you could possibly take, which I wasn’t even taking a steroid,” Dillashaw said. “Just running his mouth on certain interviews and stuff of things he knows is complete nonsense. Just pumping himself up and making himself feel like he’s got a chance in this fight.”

Those are not the only comments Sandhagen has made about the former champion. In a previous interview with ESPN, before their bout was booked, Sandhagen suggested that Dillashaw was attempting to duck him by getting an immediate title shot and then make excuses to not fight him. It’s been a bit of a tonal shift from Sandhagen, who has been calling for a fight with Dillashaw since last year but has mostly been ambivalent about Dillashaw’s suspension. Meanwhile, Dillashaw, for his part, is excited about the matchup as he believes it sets him up to fight for the title later this year.

“It wasn’t the only option but it is the one that is great,” Dillashaw said. “I love this fight. He’s got a lot of hype behind him. He’s has two good wins, people are blowing him up right now but it’s such a good fight for me to get right back on top, right where I left off. I’ll have the belt around my waist by the end of the year.”

Dillashaw has not competed since January of 2019, when he suffered a first-round knockout loss to Henry Cejudo in a flyweight title fight. His record is 16-4.


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