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Morning Report: T.J. Dillashaw to gauge outside business success before considering a future MMA return

UFC 280: Sterling v Dillashaw Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

T.J. Dillashaw isn’t saying no to an MMA return.

The MMA world was caught off guard earlier this month when it was revealed that the former two-time bantamweight titleholder was hanging up his gloves for the foreseeable future. Dillashaw’s career comes to an end off the heels of a tough second-round TKO loss to current champion Aljamain Sterling.

Towards the tail-end of his run as an elite-level fighter, Dillashaw began getting involved in some health and cannabis businesses. Should a moment in time arise once fully healthy again, Dillashaw, 36, may simply be too busy to dedicate the necessary time needed for a comeback.

“We’ll see how successful things turn out for me outside the cage and just how busy I am and what life looks like,” Dillashaw told Food Truck Diaries. “I might be so busy — I already am kinda that busy — that I don’t even have time to come back. Even when I did come back, I had to put business in the back to deal with the fight.

“That business is gonna pay me for the rest of my life where this fight’s only gonna pay me now. But when I was eight weeks out it was like, ‘Alright, sorry, guys. If you need to get ahold of me I’m not dealing with anything business related unless it’s gotta do with my fight.’”

Continuous injury woes ultimately led Dillashaw to his retirement. Before his most recent two appearances in the octagon, “The Viper” had to get through a two-year USADA suspension after testing positive for EPO against Henry Cejudo in Jan. 2019. He successfully returned with a split decision nod over Cory Sandhagen, but paid the price with a serious knee injury that kept him out for another year.

Dillashaw’s clash with Sterling this past October is now infamous as well. The former champion disclosed directly following his loss that he’d been dealing with a significant shoulder injury since April and it became immediately evident as soon as the fight began. This specific injury was the last nail in the coffin for Dillashaw and his career as the overall toll on his body and family life became too much.

“No, [the plan wasn’t to retire after shoulder surgery]. Not really,” Dillashaw said. “It wasn’t at all. I remember doing interviews like, ‘This ain’t the end of me. I’m coming back.’ Then I talked to the doctor and just what’s actually going on with my shoulder and what the likelihood of it actually healing to its fullest [is]. Then it’s just kind of a snowball effect, too.

“I have my 5-year-old son. The only fights he can really remember are my last two fights. Sandhagen, I blow my knee out. So, during fight camp, I’m not daddy. I am and I’m not, but I’m in Colorado for half the training camp, I’m traveling, I’m gone, he misses me when I’m gone. I get back, I’m on one leg, I’m laid up, and can’t be playing with him the way I’d like to. Then my ‘Aljo’ fight, I’m out in Abu Dhabi for two weeks, get shoulder surgery. He’s told me probably a good 10 times, ‘Dada, I don’t want you to fight again.’ Ah, f***. It digs deep, you know? Then the doctor’s appointment. It still is tough.”


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This makes me feel even more confident about my original feelings toward a possible return. If he does return, it will be for only as long as he’s winning. Title hopes are essentially gone at this point.

Happy Friday, all. Thanks for reading!



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