Since TJ Dillashaw tested positive for EPO in 2019, people have questioned how long the former bantamweight champ was taking PEDs. Current champion Aljamain Sterling believes that it has been the case for almost his entire career.
Sterling is the third man to hold the 135lb belt since Dillashaw was stripped of it in 2019. Since then, TJ has served his two-year suspension, and is set to return against Sandhagen later this month, despite many vocalizing their doubts that this was a one-time thing.
Among those people is Aljo, who said as much in a recent interview. Here he gave his thoughts on the fight between these two, and said that he thinks TJ has been on steroids since he came off of The Ultimate Fighter in 2011.
“I think it’s a great fight. I know those guys used to train together… I think the frame of Sandhagen, him being more active, I think that’s going to help him out a lot,” Sterling said.
“And TJ, if he’s still not cheating — if he’s done cheating I should say, because I truly believe he’s been cheating ever since the (John) Dodson fight, where he got knocked out. I think from there he made some changes to his supplement diet…
“This is from his teammates even, throwing him under the bus and talking about how long he’s been doing it for. If he’s not cheating anymore… hopefully his mad scientist, (Sam) Calavitta is not trying to figure out other ways to get around the system, and we can have a clean fight,” Sterling continued.
“I think without that stuff he’s too small, the EPO was huge for him in terms of cardio, and I think a guy like Sandhagen doesn’t get tired. I think Sandhagen fights loose. He’s long, rangier, younger, I think probably more durable, and they have the familiarity with each other.”
Aljamain Sterling Says Petr Yan Is Training Too Hard
While that fight is certainly important to the title picture at bantamweight, all signs are pointing to a rightful rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan, as the next title fight. Given that their first fight ended in disqualification, this rematch makes the most sense.
Aljo explained that he is training and getting back to action after getting neck surgery, but that he is still not entirely sure when this fight will take place. Despite that, he says that Yan is training too hard for a fight that will likely take place in October.
“He’s already cranking as if we’re fighting in two weeks. I study my opponents social media, and watching his, he’s going hard as if the fight was in like, two or three weeks from now. I have no intentions of doing that, but I want to start to get the wheels going, and just clean some things up and get sharper in some areas and figure out some tactical things I could do a little bit better,” Sterling said.
“In terms of the technical approach, I think I could’ve been a lot cleaner, even being tired. I think I’ve got to get to a point where, if I do get tired like that, there’s a mental switch like ‘Alright, we’re going to be tired, but we have to make sure that we do everything while we’re fatigued, and do it clean as possible.'”
Aljamain Sterling says that he has learned from his mistakes and will be in a better place in the rematch with Petr Yan. Time will tell if this is the case, but he seems confident that he will defend the title.