“I’ll be a three-time bantamweight champion,” Dillashaw added. “That’s a guarantee, and it’s going to happen sooner than people think.”
Former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw only wants a title shot upon his return.
Dillashaw will be eligible to compete again in January when his two-year suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is up. Of course, he notably vacated his bantamweight title in January 2019 after testing positive for EPO following his flyweight title defeat to Henry Cejudo.
In his absence, Cejudo would go on to win the vacant bantamweight title against Marlon Moraes and later defend it successfully against Dominick Cruz. With Cejudo retiring soon after, Petr Yan became the new champion after an impressive fifth-round TKO win over Jose Aldo at UFC 251 in July to claim the vacant title.
And as far as Dillashaw is concerned, the division has no real champion.
“Look man, I want that title right away,” Dillashaw told ESPN in a recent interview. “You’ve got a guy in Petr Yan who beat someone for the belt that is 0-2 in the division. Jose Aldo has two losses [at 135 pounds] and you beat him for the title so how are you calling yourself a champion? You’re an interim champion.
“That belt has changed hands every fight. No one there has dominated. That’s my belt, and I want to come back to a title fight.”
That’s not to say Dillashaw doesn’t rate Yan as a fighter, either.
“He’s well-rounded, he’s good,” Dillashaw said. “Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying that he’s not good. The division’s a great division right now. You’ve got some great guys in it. I’m just saying there’s not a champion.”
Whether he gets an instant title shot remains to be seen, but the end goal remains the same.
Yan To Dillashaw: Get In Line
Yan is no stranger to trash talk and firing back at his opponents, and it didn’t take him long to come up with a simple response to Dillashaw’s comments.
“Wait in line, cheater,” he tweeted on Thursday.
Wait in line, cheater https://t.co/wskArkbG05
— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) December 3, 2020
It would certainly not be unfair for Dillashaw to earn his shot by fighting a top-ranked opponent first given the nature of his suspension.
However, one thing is for sure — a future Yan vs. Dillashaw fight is guaranteed to be a barnburner.
You can watch the full interview below: