TJ Dillashaw will fight for the second time in nearly four years when he steps into the co-main event of UFC 280 on Saturday.
Dillashaw will challenge Aljamain Sterling for the UFC bantamweight championship at Etihad Arena as the promotion returns to the famed ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi. Much of the story ahead of Dillashaw’s return to the Octagon has focused on his highly publicized PED usage that resulted in a two-year suspension from the sport in 2019.
Sitting down with Adam Catterall of BT Sport, Dillashaw reflected back on his past usage and the reason why he chose to take substances that he knew would land him in hot water.
“I was a shell of a man of who I was. Supposed to be the baddest man on the planet, dropping to a weight class that my body physically wouldn’t let me do. Full-blown anemic. Six to eight weeks out before the fight, I’m not wanting to wake up. Not wanting to train. Not feeling like I could live up to the biggest fight of my life, so I took an anemia medication that I knew I couldn’t, but I knew it would get me back to where I was. The fight that I wanted.”
Despite knowing full well what the consequences of his actions would be, TJ Dillashaw still chose to put banned substances into his body, a choice that he has taken full responsibility for.
“I mean, I’ve kind of fessed up to that right? I’ve manned up to the whole situation. Like, I knew going into it that I wasn’t supposed to be doing it. But, you know, I was chasing something that was like, you know, gonna line my pockets forever. It was going to cement some more legacy. Just something that my body wouldn’t let me do, but my mind wanted to. Just my ego I guess you’d say, right? My ego of like, ‘I’m the f*cking best, I’m gonna get sh*t done.'”
— UFC (@ufc) October 18, 2022
TJ Dillashaw Has Made Peace With Mistakes of the Past
Two and a half years removed from his suspension, TJ Dillashaw returned in July 2021, earning a split decision win over Cory Sandhagen. After another lengthy layoff, Dillashaw returns to the pay-per-view spotlight at UFC 280 to challenge for the UFC bantamweight championship once again.
While many fans and fighters, including his UFC 280 opponent, are quick to call out Dillashaw for his past PED usage, Dillashaw has made peace with the choice and the penalty that was levied.
“I think that’s why I came out so fast, right? I came and admitted to everything right away before it was even announced because the fact that I wanted to get it behind me as soon as possible. I knew it was going to be a process no matter what. I knew the ridicule was going to come with it, but that was the easiest way for me to get it behind me. It’s like going to a therapist and just letting it all out.”