It feels like it was only just a couple years ago when TJ Dillashaw first won UFC gold at UFC 173. Dillashaw was a Team Alpha Male standout and was a heavy underdog heading into the fight against one of the most dominant bantamweights champions of all time Renan Barao. Even though it was his first UFC title fight you could tell TJ Dillashaw was gonna be a hard champ to dethrone in the UFC Men’s Bantamweight Division. After winning the belt for the first time TJ went on to defend his belt twice beating Barao by TKO again and getting a head kick knockout win over Joe Soto. He eventually lost the belt to Dominick Cruz in a decision.
Eventually Cruz lost the belt to former training partner and now enemy of TJ, Cody Garbrandt. To sum it up the rivalry shortly TJ use to train at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento California. TJ ended up leaving to go train in Denver. This started a serious rivalry between TJ and his former teammates at Team Alpha Male. Dillashaw and Garbrandt were set to fight in the co-main event of UFC 217. Despite getting dropped by a straight right hand at the end of round one Dillashaw came back to knockout Cody in round 2. The two were scheduled to rematch at UFC 227 and TJ knocked out Cody in only 1 round. Dillashaw then set his sights on the flyweight champion Henry Cejudo. Dilliashaw and Cejudo would main event UFC’s first card on ESPN Plus for the 125 pound championship. Heading into the fight you can tell the weight cut was affecting Dillashaw. Henry Cejudo only needed 32 seconds to stop Dillashaw in round 1, and retain his championship. Many thought it was an early stoppage so it looked like a rematch would most likely take place at UFC 238, but at bantamweight this time. That was until some very interesting news came out.
TJ Dillashaw broke news on Instagram that he was notified by USADA that he had a doping violation and that he would be relinquishing his bantamweight title. No one knew at the time what supplement TJ tested positive for. Many people speculated it was a dietary supplement to aid him in his weight cut down to 125 pounds. If that were the case TJ would’ve only been suspended for 1 year. That was until ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke the news via Twitter that TJ Dillashaw tested positive for EPO before his title fight against Henry Cejudo on January 19th.
Unlike many other supplements you can’t blame testing positive for EPO on a tainted supplement. You have to inject an EPO into your body, this led to USADA suspending Dillashaw for 2 years. Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo will take on top bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes at UFC 238 for the vacant bantamweight title.
This comes as a shock to many MMA fans because TJ Dillishaw was highly regarded as if not one of then the greatest Bantamweights in UFC history. Now with with him getting caught cheating and him being on the sidelines for 2 years anytime someone calls Dillashaw the bantamweight GOAT they have to do it with an asterisk.
Stephen Caloggero (@steveo_calo)