On Saturday night, we’ll see former UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw return to the octagon for the first time since January 2019. The former champ was suspended for 2 years for using EPO, a drug used to increase the number of red blood cells in the body allowing for oxygen to pass through into the working muscles and organs ultimately making his cardio much better.
What made Dillashaw being caught for using EPO worse was the fact he got starched by Henry Cejudo in 30 seconds so using the drug had no benefit on his performance in that fight. We don’t know how long he used it for.
Going into his bout with Cory Sandhagen, who has looked damn near perfect in his last two fights with two iconic KO’s, TJ will have to be at his best to beat him.
Cory is a difficult fighter to figure out. He can fight in multiple stances, he’s a tall bantamweight at 5’9 and he has elusive defensive movement. Cory is simply an elite striker. TJ is an excellent striker too, however the game has changed a lot since he’s been out. He’ll probably suffer from some sort of ring rust and if he took EPO back then, that means he doesn’t trust his cardio. This is a big fight for TJ to take on his return and it’s his shot at redemption to show the world that he’s still one of the best even when he isn’t juiced up.
So, do I think he can win? Yes, it’s MMA and anything can happen. Do I think he will win? No. Cory has looked better and better since the loss to Aljamain Sterling last year and his activeness will definitely pay off if this fight doesn’t finish in the first two rounds. I’m taking the ‘Sandman’ by TKO in round 3.
Nonetheless, this is the biggest fight of TJ Dillashaw’s career and I can’t wait to see him back in the cage.