Las Vegas, NV — Back after a layoff of over two years due to a USADA suspension, TJ Dillashaw says he’s not worried about the positive test hanging over his head.
“It’s kind of like doing your own therapy. Getting it off your chest right away, everything’s already been said, you know? I didn’t hide behind anything. I put it all out there and it is what it is. I’m a very mentally tough guy. It’s not going to ever break me,” Dillashaw told the press pool at the UFC Vegas 32 media day on Wednesday.
Asked about his performance slipping and having people link that to his previous PED use for the rest of his career, Dillashaw dismissed the notion.
“I don’t think so. You know I think it’s going to erase after Saturday. When you come out there and see how good I look,” he said.
Dillashaw has been quoted as saying that he thinks he should receive a title shot upon his return from suspension, but he knows this is a #1 contender fight.
“It’s definitely a #1 contender fight. This is a real title fight, to be honest. You know, I was not very impressed with Aljamain [Sterling] and [Petr] Yan in their last fight. I think Cory Sandhagen is the toughest in the weight class right now and this is a true title fight. I’m the true champ coming back and it’s time to prove it.”
The bantamweight division has seen plenty of changes in the two years that Dillashaw has been gone and he spoke about what the hardest part of his absence has been.
“The roughest thing is watching the weight class take off without you in it. Seeing the things happening with you. The guy wrapping the belt around his waist when you believe it’s yours, you know? That’s by far the toughest.”
Dillashaw takes on Cory Sandhagen in the main event of UFC Vegas 32 and he spoke about his opponent’s growth.
“Cory’s a great athlete. When I even trained with him you’d think he was a basketball player before he started becoming a martial artist. I was impressed with him being able to scramble and do the things he’s been able to do. He’s got great footwork, great distance control. Things I guess I’ve seen the best maybe is confidence things like that. Maybe believe in himself a little bit more. But he’s still the same fighter, still the same guy.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 32 media day scrum with TJ Dillashaw above.