Cory Sandhagen is not holding TJ Dillashaw’s failed drug tests against him.
Sandhagen welcomes Dillashaw back inside the Octagon when they clash in a highly-anticipated bantamweight headliner at UFC Vegas 32 this weekend.
For Sandhagen, it’s a chance to go three in a row and guarantee himself the next bantamweight title shot. For Dillashaw, it’s a chance at redemption following his two-year ban after testing positive for EPO back in January 2019.
Sandhagen used to train with Dillashaw and can’t deny that the latter is very skillful. But while it doesn’t matter to him, he can never defend Dillashaw for resorting to PEDs.
“There are lines that you don’t cross in the sport,” Sandhagen told ESPN. “You shouldn’t try to cheap shot people, you shouldn’t go outside the rules while you’re in there, and you definitely shouldn’t do anything that is illegal to give you a huge advantage in a fight.
“As a competitor and person, the only word I can come up for it — it doesn’t matter to me, TJ has to live with his decisions, I have to live with my decisions — but it is a little gross in my opinion to put yourself in an illegal advantage in a one-on-one combat scenario and something you really love. It’s gross.”
Sandhagen Already Has Motivation To Knock Dillashaw Out
Not that Sandhagen is using Dillashaw’s failed drug tests or the perception of him being a cheater as any motivation.
Sandhagen already has plenty of motivation to knock Dillashaw out purely from the fact that the former bantamweight champion is looking take away his dream of becoming the 135-pound king.
“Honestly, I don’t need any more motivation to hate someone or to want to beat someone up other than the fact that TJ is trying to take my dream from me,” Sandhagen added. “… I don’t really need to give myself the narrative that ‘oh, he’s a cheater.’ I don’t need that.
“The only motivation I need is TJ is trying to take something from me, he’s trying to hurt me — that will make me alone try to knock him out.”
You can watch the full interview below: