T.J. Dillashaw admits that retirement could be temporary: “I’m still the best guy in the weight class”

By Josh Evanoff - August 8, 2023

Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw will likely be back if all goes well.

T.J. Dillashaw

The 37-year-old last competed at UFC 280 against Aljamain Sterling last Fall. The fight was T.J. Dillashaw’s first in over a year, missing time after a win over Cory Sandhagen due to injury. Prior to that win over ‘The Sandman’, the former champion famously missed over two years of his career due to failing a drug test.

However, at UFC 280 last October, he had his shot at his redemption. Ultimately, ‘The Funk Master’ prevailed by second-round stoppage, with T.J. Dillashaw struggling due to a dislocated shoulder. Post-fight, he confirmed that he had struggled with shoulder injuries during his entire fight camp.

Following the defeat, T.J. Dillashaw retired from MMA due to those aforementioned injury issues. However, the former champion might not be done after all, given his recent comments in an interview on the JAXXON Podcast alongside Rampage Jackson. There, he admitted that he might return to fighting.

Ultimately, T.J. Dillashaw still believes that he’s still the best fighter at 135 pounds. If he can get his shoulder to a great place, he can’t let MMA go. However, getting his shoulder to a place where he can fight again won’t be easy.


TJ Dillashaw

“I know that I’m still the best guy in the weight class,” T.J. Dillashaw stated on the podcast. “By far, I believe I’m the best guy in the weight class, and for the sport to be taken from me the way that it was, it just doesn’t sit well with me. It kind of pisses me off. If the shoulder’s good, I’m definitely – I have to get back in there. I can’t let it go out the way it did.” (h/t MMAJunkie)

He continued, “I didn’t want to retire. It’s been an actual real bitter thing… It’s been hard for me to wrap my head around being around the sport at the same time being forced out of it [and how my] career panned out the way it did toward the end. [I’m] really just bitter.”

“Every doctor I’ve met – they’re all specialists on my shoulder – they’re all telling me they can’t put me back good enough to be able to fight again. Doctors aren’t always right, but I have to have a super-extensive shoulder surgery.”

What do you make of these comments? Do you believe T.J. Dillashaw will return to the UFC?


TJ Dillashaw UFC