Former UFC bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw did score a split decision win over Cory Sandhagen is his return after being out for two years away from the Octagon. However, the 35-year-old fighter believes he could have done better and finished the ‘Sandman’; however, the knee injury he suffered in the fight stopped him.
On Bruce Buffer’s podcast ‘It’s Time’, Dillashaw revealed how his back takes could have been more effective if he didn’t injure his leg. Nonetheless, he is still satisfied with how the fight developed because he could showcase more skills and state of mind in a 25-minute battle.
“Cory is really lucky that my knee was messed up when I took his back so many times, because it would have been a different story if I was able to lift him or throw my hooks in. When I took his back, I tried making a couple of trips. But every time – I remember lifting him in the second round, I took his back, and my knee completely buckled on me, and I was like, ‘Oh, we can’t do that anymore.”
“So a lot of those back controls would have been – I believe I would have finished him if my leg would have been healthy.” Dillashaw continued. “But you know what? Maybe it’s better I didn’t. I got to show that I have that grit, I have that comeback mentality, I have that fight-through-adversity, and I showed that my cardio is second to none. No one is going to outpace me. I work harder than everyone. So maybe it worked out in my favor. I built a lot of fans back in that fight.”
Dillashaw’s knee is a bucket handle tear of the lateral meniscus and a lateral collateral ligament rupture. The ailments will require surgery. However, recovery will be very soon.
Dillashaw has had a USADA suspension for two years after testing positive for the banned substance EPO, which stimulates blood cell production in the bone marrow, on January 19, 2019. That day, the 35-year-old lost his champions status to Henry Cejudo via Technical Knock Out, however, before that he was on a four-fight winning streak, with a win over Cody Garbrandt, John Lineker and Raphael Assuncao.