TJ Dillashaw has faced a heavy sentence for his use of performance enhancing drugs and he believes the punishment will leave a lasting legacy in MMA.
This Saturday at UFC Vegas 31, Dillashaw made headlines against bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen. It will be the first fight since January 2019 for the two-time UFC champion, following Dillashaw receiving a two-year suspension from USADA after testing positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO).
Following his first positive test, Dillashaw released a statement in April 2019 regarding his drug test failure, in which he simply said, “I screwed up.” Last weekend, in an interview with Brendan Schaub Food Truck Newspapers, Dillashaw claimed he has been the subject of a thorough review by USADA since, including retesting all of his fight samples dating back to a meeting with Raphael Assuncao in July 2016.
“People can go say whatever they want and have more power for them, that’s the decision I made, but USADA actually put me under a microscope after I got in trouble. Dillashaw said. “They came back on all my fights, they have already collected my samples and retested them all, until my fight in Assuncao afterwards. [Dominick] Cruz because they keep an A and B sample every time you get tested.
“Whatever happens, it’s gonna be [that] I made the mistake, ”Dillashaw continued. “It’s like the USADA weapon, using it against you, to really slander you so no one else wants to do this shit.” So these questions are valid because I screwed up. I decided. But being able to live with it, to recognize it, made it easy. If I had been hiding from it, creating excuses, I would be hiding some kind of excuse, I would be hiding some kind of thing that I did.
Regarding Dillashaw’s claim that USADA retested its previous samples, MMA Fighting contacted the UFC’s official partner for drug testing, but did not receive a response at the time of submission. this publication.
Back when Dillashaw’s positive drug test was first revealed in April 2019, a USADA spokesperson said this about the past samples being retested:
“As part of our investigation for all positives, we look at an athlete’s previous testing history. Where potentially relevant, we may request special analysis for these samples. Here, as a result of our review, we conducted a more in-depth analysis on its sample collected on December 28, 2018 and it also revealed the presence of EPO.
Dillashaw relinquished the UFC bantamweight title upon suspension, after an unsuccessful attempt to drop to 125 pounds and challenge flyweight champion Henry Cejudo. The positive drug test came from a sample of pre and post bouts surrounding that bout.
Thirty months later, Dillashaw finds himself in the title picture again as he takes on Sandhagen, who has lost just once in eight UFC appearances. Dillashaw believes that no matter who wins on Saturday, they have a stronger UFC bantamweight title claim than current champion Aljamain Sterling after Sterling’s disqualification win over Petr Yan at UFC 259.
“This is the real fight for the title. I think the fight between me and Cory is the real title fight, ”said Dillashaw. “Watching Aljamain and Petr fight, I wasn’t very impressed. I know Aljamain beat Cory but I was not impressed with his last performance.
“So I think that’s the real title fight here, I can go out and prove myself on that. There is pressure, for sure. Either way, I always put a lot of pressure on myself no matter the fight. That’s kind of how I got to the top, because if you’re not afraid to fight, you’re not ready.
Dillashaw says he made the most of his time away from the competition, becoming a franchise partner of the “Clean Juice” bar and spending more time with his young son. His work outside of the UFC provided him with financial security that made him less anxious about fighting paycheck to paycheck.
“I come back, I get my belt back, I have goals and stuff like that, but to be honest life after the fight is great if you do it the right way,” Dillashaw said. “I’m settling in properly, being smart about it.
“But actually, I don’t have to fight for a paycheck now, which is good,” he added. “I make more money outside the cage than I was paid while fighting. So it’s good not to have that in a fight, “You got to win, you got to get to the next big fight, I got to get that paycheck.” … Now I’m doing it just because I want to.
Dillashaw reiterated that he was happy to have released his statement when he did so, as he believes the consequences of his actions would have been even worse had he remained silent about the failure of the drug test. drug. And he certainly doesn’t buy into the idea that using DEPs is what made him a champion.
“If I thought I got somewhere because of the DEPs, I wouldn’t call Cory Sandhagen,” Dillashaw said. “I wouldn’t ask for someone in the top 5. I wouldn’t know I’m going to get my belt back. I’m gonna be a fucking animal when I get into this. So I don’t worry about anything except going out and having fun.