Despite their approaching championship battle at UFC 280, T.J. Dillashaw believes Aljamain Sterling is already looking for excuses to lose.
Bantamweight champion Sterling (21-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) said on “The MMA Hour” that he doesn’t think Dillashaw (17-4 MMA, 13-3 UFC) is a clean athlete before their Oct. 22 co-main event at Etihad Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
In light of Dillashaw’s positive drug test in 2019, which resulted in him losing the 135-pound championship and earning a two-year suspension from UFC competition, Sterling’s assertion makes perfect sense. According to the testing record maintained by the firm, Dillashaw has been examined by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) a total of 53 times after his initial failure and has passed each test.
Dillashaw, 36, said there’s a simple reason for why Sterling is making such charges, despite the fact that he’s repeatedly stated his previous test failure was the consequence of taking a drug to assist in a weight cut down to the flyweight class.
“He’s got to say something to downplay how good I am,” Dillashaw said. “I’m going to whoop his ass coming up soon in 10 weeks. He’s got to make some sort of excuse of why I’m winning, or who I am and why I am. It don’t bother me. It’s just a bunch of bullsh*t excuses. When I beat his ass he’s going to be like, ‘See.’”
Dillashaw is sure that no number of pre-planted “excuses” from Sterling will affect the outcome of his fate inside the cage now that the fight has been signed and is scheduled for UFC 280.
Dillashaw has stated that he does not have any personal issues with “The Funkmaster,” but he has acknowledged that the reigning champion possesses some personality flaws that irritate him.
“I never had anything against the guy until now I’m fighting him,” Dillashaw said. “The way he kind of handled winning the belt the first time and just continuing his persona outright. He’s a kind of not a likable guy, and he’s kind of rolling with taking the cringe to the next level. Nothing personally against him, other than the fact he acts like a dipsh*t.
“I’ve never tried to get into too much personal stuff, trying to bring in the reality TV drama into everything. I try to stick somewhat to the sport. I don’t have time to really worry about who he is as a person or what he’s got going on. I worry about who he is as a fight, what holes he has in his game and how I’m going to whoop his ass. That’s why I get paid. Some people get paid to talk sh*t, but it’s just not what I’m into. I’m into talking sh*t about me being the best.”
Dillashaw said that he still considers himself the best in the world, even after the ban that cost him his championship and forced him to step away from the sport. Ever since his loss to Dominick Cruz by split decision in January 2016, he hasn’t been defeated in the bantamweight class. His previous loss came by a contentious split decision in October 2013 against Raphael Assuncao; he ultimately won the rematch.
Dillashaw believes that his brilliance will be on full display in this bout versus Sterling, who is on a seven-fight winning run and just made his first championship defense against Petr Yan at UFC 273. He considers his abilities to be superior in every respect, yet he sees things as completely unbalanced when it comes to striking.
“I absolutely have the advantage in striking,” Dillashaw said. “I believe I have the advantage everywhere. He is really good once he gets on the back with control and things like that. I haven’t been impressed with his wrestling. He’s a (Division III) wrestler, and I’ve been wrestling D1. I think his takedown defense is under 50 percent. His striking is – it’s embarrassing that he’s the champion (with) his striking that is that bad. It’s God awful. He uses his awkwardness to his advantage, but when you start throwing with him he just cowers.