Cory Sandhagen was decidedly unimpressed by TJ Dillashaw’s PED use, and is making no secret of the fact leading into their bout this weekend. Dillashaw, who once held the bantamweight belt, was stripped of his title and suspended from competition after testing positive for EPO use. He’s been absent from the UFC ever since, and this weekend will make his return to the Octagon.
Cory Sandhagen told ESPN that he finds Dillashaw’s lack of sportsmanship “gross”: “As a competitor, and just kinda as a person, really the only word that I could kinda come up with for it is, it doesn’t bother me.
Sandhagen labels Dillashaw “gross” for PED “illegal advantage”
TJ has to live with TJ’s decisions. I have to live with my decisions, but it is a little bit gross, in my opinion, to put yourself in an illegal advantage in a one-on-one combat scenario, in something you really love. If there’s a word for it, it’s kinda just gross.”
Sandhagen has a point. Dillashaw’s career, reputation, and legacy are all tarnished by his rampant PED use. Imagine being one of the fighters he defeated on his way to the title. If you were playing by the rules, only to have your chance at glory scuppered by someone skirting them, you wouldn’t exactly feel happy about it.
Dillashaw has spent the past two years on the sidelines thanks to his USADA suspension. Prior to this, he amassed a 16-4 record, including two landmark knockout victories over Cody Garbrandt. His last fight was a move up to the flyweight division, a knockout loss at Henry Cejudo’s hands, was in 2019. It seems the EPO didn’t help quite enough to win Dillashaw another title.
Cory Sandhagen, on the other hand, has been dutifully slugging away at the division. Currently ranked the UFC’s #2 bantamweight, Sandhagen was on a seven-fight win streak until he succumbed to a first-round rear naked choke against current bantamweight champ Aljamain Sterling.
Sandhagen has since returned to winning ways, winning both fights since then through knockouts, both of which earned him Performance of the Night honors.
For Cory Sandhagen, the Dillashaw fight is just another one on his way to challenge for the title. Petr Yan will almost definitely fight Sterling once again, considering the controversial end to their last bout, but as the #2 ranked contender, Sandhagen should expect to be in line for the title should he win this weekend.
For TJ Dillashaw, this comeback may be his only chance to prove that he can compete with the world’s elite without chemical enhancement.
Do you think Dillashaw’s comeback will go the way he thinks, or does Sandhagen win this weekend? Let us know in the comments.