MMA

Former UFC champ TJ Dillashaw feels he was “forced out” of MMA

TJ Dillashaw is done competing in MMA, but admits he didn’t leave the sport on his own terms. 

The UFC former bantamweight champ discussed his retirement from MMA on a recent episode of the JAXXON PODCAST, admitting that it’s bittersweet watching the new generation of fighters compete when he is no longer able to do so himself.

“It’s exciting [to watch], and it’s sad at the same time.” Dillashaw said. “Like, I’m [expletive] done, you know what I mean? I was forced out of the sport, and it sucks. I feel like I had so much more to give still.”

Dillashaw was forced to hang up his gloves due to a lingering shoulder injury. Initially, there seemed to be some hope that he would be able to fight again after getting his shoulder repaired, but after several surgeries, the outlook is bleak.

“I can’t even raise my arm up in the air yet,” he said. “I don’t even know if my shoulder is ever going to be the same again. It’s [expletive] depressing. As a competitor, you have to be delusionally optimistic, but that’s also what got me in this position, too. It’s just gotten worse and worse from each surgery.

“I had a massive surgery. I went to the world’s best specialist, and it’s like he’s never seen anything like it. It looked like a bomb went off in there.

“There is a lot of healing to be done, and I’m hoping that maybe it’s just like me staying after my PTs is going to make it better and better and better, but this is my third surgery since my last fight, and it’s not looking good.”

Dillashaw won the UFC bantamweight title with a stunning upset of Renan Barao in 2014. After defending the belt against Joe Soto and in a rematch with Barao, he lost the title to bantamweight legend Dominick Cruz by split decision in 2016.

The following year, Dillashaw reclaimed the title with a knockout of Cody Garbrandt. He then defended the belt with a second stoppage of Garbrandt, then moved down to flyweight to challenge Henry Cejudo for a second belt.

The fight with Cejudo ended in disaster for Dillashaw, as he was knocked out in the first round, and later tested positive for performance enhancing drugs — which he admitted to willingly using. 

After serving his suspension, Dillashaw returned to action with a split-decision win over Cory Sandhagen, and later challenged bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling in hopes of reclaiming the title. 

He lost his fight with Sterling by TKO, though he was clearly hindered by his shoulder injury in the Octagon.

He has not fought since, and it appears he never will again. 

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