There are no second thoughts for T.J. Dillashaw regarding his decision to battle UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling.
Dillashaw (17-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) gambled on competing despite having a shoulder injury in his UFC 280 title fight against Sterling (22-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC). Dillashaw’s shoulder popped out early in the fight, which was the worst possible outcome. With Dillashaw hurt, Sterling dominated him to a second-round TKO stoppage, but Dillashaw insisted he was willing to risk losing what he thought was a very winnable fight.
“I took a gamble, as well, and that’s why it’s called f*cking gambling,” Dillashaw said.
“You don’t know the situation. I took a gamble. I could have sat out and got surgery, but when I come back, who knows if I’m gonna get a title shot right away? Or I’m going to have to fight my way back up in it or how bad this shoulder is. Let’s be honest: This is my third surgery in my left shoulder. It’s not like I’m a spring f*cking chicken, and it’s going to be an easy fix. It’s a serious thing. I will be coming back. I’m not gonna let my story end that way.
“But it’s still in the back of your head: I go and get surgery, I’m out for a year. And I was just out on surgery. There’s no guarantee you get a title fight when you come back. There’s a lot of options I’m weighing out of me getting this fight against a guy that’s very beatable. I think he’s the most beatable champion right now in the division. People are gonna give me sh*t for that, but I think he’s got some big holes in his game, and I matched up well with him. So I’m going to roll them dice, and I’m going to bet on myself even with one arm.”
“I feel like he was gifted the belt to begin with, and then he squeaked by with a win (in the rematch against Petr Yan),” Dillashaw said.
“He’s a great athlete, he’s on a great win streak, he’s gotten to the top, but I don’t think he’s the best champion we’ve got out there. I don’t think he’s the best in the division, especially in the division we have, and that was an opportunity I wasn’t going to let slip through my fingers even though it did. My opinion has not changed. … I think his teammate, Merab, beats him.”