If there’s one thing TJ Dillashaw has a lot of, it’s time.
The former UFC bantamweight champion is currently suspended until 2021 after he tested positive for EPO earlier this year. It’s been over eight months since his last outing in the Octagon and Dillashaw has been itching to return.
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However, that doesn’t mean he can’t be close to the action. He will be cornering teammate Juan Archuleta when he meets Patricio Pitbull in the opening round of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix at Bellator 228 on Saturday.
Dillashaw and Archuleta in particular, are extremely close and for that, the former is grateful especially after his actions this year.
“Man, I’ve lost a lot friends in the world of MMA,” Dillashaw told James Lynch from theScore. “Going from Team Alpha Male, all the shit with all that. Just the relationships that come and go from MMA. It’s sad to say that I’ve lost people I really called friends, that I had some real personal relationships with. My actions have been hard on my teammates, my coaches, my family so that’s the toughest thing for me to swallow. Obviously, I’ve always manned up and dealt with everything I’ve done.
“The hardest part is the backlash of other people. Juan’s had to even deal with some of it and some of the hate on social media. But to have a guy like Juan behind you, he’s a friend for life. He’s family. That’s why I’m putting as much effort as I can do to him as well too and make him the fighter he is. Because he’s going to be there for my comeback.”
Dillashaw’s comeback won’t be starting for at least another 15 months.
But having undergone double shoulder surgery — which he claimed he’s been needing for three years — along with remaining hungry to get his title back, he expects to have a successful return to the Octagon.
“It’s going to be a great story,” he added. “Everyone likes a comeback story and mine’s going to be great. I’m getting my belt back. I’m gonna come back hungrier than ever, healthy, double shoulder surgery. It’ll be nice to come back and not worry about my shoulder popping out of the socket. I’m excited for that. I’m excited for Juan. I’m excited to be in his corner.”