Embattled former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw was the star of the show for the first time in two years at UFC Vegas 32.
With apologies to Cory Sandhagen, a deserving contender trying to work his way to a second fight with Aljamain Sterling, it was Dillashaw garnering the bulk of the attention ahead of Saturday’s main event fight. After relinquishing his belt following a positive drug test for EPO, Dillashaw was banished from fighting two years by USADA. His return, heavily promoted by the UFC’s marketing machine, had been positioned as a redemption story.
Most observers no doubt simply wanted to see if Dillashaw would look anything like his old, drug-enhanced self. Would the cardio, the stamina, still be there, or was that the EPO?
With Sterling suggesting that a win for Dillashaw could earn him a shot at the belt, a lot was on the line Saturday. Reputation (or what was left of it), glory, redemption. Sandhagen would likely to have something to say about that, of course. While Sterling appeared dismissive of that rematch, a win over another former champ could perhaps change his mind.
Following Saturday’s UFC Vegas 32 (UFC on ESPN 27) card, tune in for the post-fight press conference. A live stream can be found above.