Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw makes his long-awaited return to active competition against Cory Sandhagen in what could be an absolute classic.
According to Brett Okamoto of ESPN, Dillashaw will return from his two-year USADA suspension and fight No. 2 ranked bantamweight Sandhagen on May 8, 2021. UFC officials subsequently confirmed the booking.
Former bantamweight champion Dillashaw (16-4) was last in action against Henry Cejudo on January 19, 2019, on the inaugural ESPN + card. That night, he would try and become a double champion by attempting to claim the flyweight title. Dillashaw would lose in just 32 seconds via TKO. A few months after the fight, Dillashaw announced he was relinquishing his 135-pound championship due to a USADA violation stemming from a failed drug test. USADA would suspend him for two years for his use of EPO (or recombinant human erythropoietin). Before his loss, Dillashaw, in his second reign at 135lbs, had won four straight and defended his belt once.
Sandhagen (14-2) wasn’t even ranked at the time of Dillashaw’s suspension but has gone on an impressive run to get to where he is now. “The Sandman” has rebounded perfectly since his first UFC loss last year to current bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling. He knocked out Marlon Moraes with a spinning wheel kick on ‘Fight Island’ in his first UFC main event last October, and last month he knocked former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar out cold with a flying knee in just 28 seconds.
While it hasn’t been announced, the winner of this bout will most likely fight the winner of Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan when they eventually rematch.
The May 8 UFC event now includes:
- T.J. Dillashaw vs. Cory Sandhagen
- Donald Cerrone vs. Diego Sanchez
- Francisco Figueredo vs. Jimmy Flick
- Zarrukh Adashev vs. Ryan Benoit
- Holly Holm vs. Julianna Pena
- Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs. Maurice Greene
- Christian Aguilera vs. Carlston Harris
- Roxanne Modafferi vs. Taila Santos
- Tafon Nchukwi vs. Jun Yong Park
- Damir Hadzovic vs. Nikolas Motta