Injuries forced T.J. Dillashaw to retire early.
It was apparent watching what became his final bout in the octagon that Dillashaw was about to need another healing period to recover from a nasty shoulder dislocation. Dillashaw’s second-round TKO loss to bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling at UFC 280 was just a glimpse into the continuous struggles he’d been dealing with. Ultimately, it led to his retirement from MMA shortly after despite not being his plan.
“I didn’t want to retire,” Dillashaw said on the Jaxxon Podcast. “It’s been a real bitter thing. It’s been hard for me to be around the sport recently like even helping my training partner Juan Archuleta fighting in Japan in RIZIN for the belt. It’s been hard for me to wrap my head around being in the sport at the same time being forced out of it. Also, my career just kind of panned out the way it did towards the end — really just bitter, you know?
“I’m hoping — every doctor I’ve met, they’re all specialists on my shoulder, they’re all telling me they can’t put me back good enough to be able to fight again. Doctors aren’t always right but I have to have a super-extensive shoulder surgery. What I’m waiting on right now are some cadaver parts. I need a cadaver shoulder head bone.”
While he primarily became known for his striking as his career peaked, Dillashaw always had a strong wrestling base in his back pocket. Against Sterling, Dillashaw was unable to get off any effective offense as a one-armed fighter and when faced with takedowns and grappling scenarios just couldn’t defend properly.
“I was fighting a guy that I match up really well against,” Dillashaw said. “Aljamain Sterling had the belt — has the belt — and I don’t think he’s that great. Yeah, he’s got some awesome grappling, he’s got some tricky back takes but his stand-up is just not threatening at all. I could let him hit me as hard as he wants and nothing would happen.”
Knowing shoulder surgery was inevitable, the fight was viewed as likely a last-chance moment by Dillashaw. He’d already been out for a year prior with a previous knee injury and now the hope is to finally get the shoulder dealt with next month after the aforementioned requirements are found.
Dillashaw noted that he’d welcome something like a Dominick Cruz rematch should he end up back in action as soon as he can return to sustainable health. Cruz dethroned Dillashaw by a split decision in January 2016 after a layoff of his own.
Whether or not one more title shot is even attainable, “The Viper” just wants a chance to go out on his terms.
“I know that I’m still the best guy in the weight class, by far,” Dillashaw said. “For the sport to be taken from me the way that it was, it just doesn’t sit well with me... If the shoulder’s good, man, definitely I have to get back in there. I can’t let it go out the way it did.”
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
When meeting new people it’s really exciting to see what is most important to their culture to them. They want to show you certain things that are passed down from generations to generations. It’s really humbling. #japan little pieces of life— Juan Archuleta (@jarchmma) August 4, 2023
If you ask me, it seems pretty romantic pic.twitter.com/rCbqAPgs25— Diana Belbiță (@DianaBelbita) August 5, 2023
I think respect is above all, you don't know what might happen to you tomorrow pic.twitter.com/ELYZejfCZd— Vugar Karamov (@vugar_karamov) August 5, 2023
Can’t wait to be back!— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) August 5, 2023
Shoulder is almost good! Couple more weeks to get clear and to be back training! pic.twitter.com/0y13iivLak
Li Yixuan (3-0) finished Xu Wanying with this choke at JCK today. Not ready to call her a prospect just yet, but as women’s fighters are hard to come by in China, I’ve got my eye on her and she’ll probably be thrown into a bigger fight next. pic.twitter.com/N3rpSVRioX— Chris Presnell (@mmaecosystem) August 5, 2023
KO of the week.
Jose Ramirez knocked down Tim Anderson with a vicious right hand pic.twitter.com/ifNmueoknk— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) August 6, 2023
Won’t happen... but imagine.
Johnny Muñoz Jr. (12-3) vs. Aoriqileng (24-10); UFC Vegas 80, Oct. 7
Last Week’s Results:
Friday: 56% of 304 total votes answered “UFC Nashville” when asked, “Which event are you looking forward to more tomorrow night?”
Thursday: 57% of 573 total votes answered “Jake Paul” when asked, “Who wins this weekend?” Paul defeated Nate Diaz via unanimous decision in Dallas, Texas this past Saturday night.
Monday: 59% of 740 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Have we seen the last of Tony Ferguson in the UFC?”
Today’s exit poll:
If healthy, is Dillashaw still a title threat at bantamweight?
This poll is closed