TJ Dillashaw Gives Up UFC Bantamweight Title After Failed Drug Test

Shocking news broke Wednesday morning, as UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw revealed on his Instagram that he is giving up his title after he failed a drug test following his UFC Fight Night 143 knockout loss against Henry Cejudo. The card took place January 19 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, which was the UFC’s debut show on ESPN. According to Dillashaw’s statement, USADA and the New York State Athletic Commission informed him of an “adverse finding” in his drug test, and to be fair to the rest of the bantamweight division, Dillashaw voluntarily agreed to give up his belt. It’s likely the UFC would have stripped him anyways.

Dillashaw will be suspended for one year retroactive to the date of the fight, according to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, meaning he will be eligible to return January 19, 2020. The UFC bantamweight division no longer has a champion, and the vacant belt will likely be up for grabs soon, with Cejudo, Marlon Moraes and Pedro Munhoz some of the names being bandied about for a crack at the vacant belt.

This news about Dillashaw flunking his drug test is extremely disappointing. Not only was Dillashaw one of the last fighters who anyone would have thought was using performance-enhancing drugs, but he was putting together a Hall of Fame resume that will sadly have an asterisk beside it now. The runner-up on TUF 14, Dillashaw has a 16-4 pro MMA record including a 12-4 record in the Octagon alone. His list of wins at bantamweight includes two knockout victories over Cody Garbrandt, two knockouts over Renan Barao, a decision over John Lineker, and a decision over Raphael Assuncao. Although Dominick Cruz has an argument, many considered Dillashaw the greatest bantamweight MMA fighter of all time.

Unfortunately for Dillashaw, this failed drug test will put a black mark on his career and previous accomplishments. According to the former champ, he and his team are working hard towards figuring out why this failed test happened, and perhaps there’s an explanation for it. But as we’ve seen with fighters like Yoel Romero who were cleared of USADA of any intentional wrongdoing, there will always be questions by fans and media about what truly went on, even if they didn’t do anything on purpose. In Dillashaw’s case, we’ll wait and see what his excuse is.

The silver lining out of all of this is that the UFC flyweight division may live on. After Cejudo knocked out Dillashaw, the UFC was planning on having him move up to bantamweight to get a crack at Dillashaw’s belt there. With Dillashaw no longer holding the belt, it doesn’t make as much sense to give Cejudo a fight against someone like Moraes as there’s no rivalry between those two (not to mention Ali Abdel-Aziz manages both). Instead, Cejudo should stay down at flyweight and fight Joseph Benavidez or the winner of Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Jussier Formiga, while Moraes could fight Munhoz for the vacant bantamweight title. In many ways, Dillashaw testing positive may be a blessing in disguise for the UFC flyweight and bantamweight divisions, which can both move in separate paths now.

This story is far from over and we’ll be sure to hear UFC president Dana White’s thoughts on the matter in the coming days, so stay tuned to MMAOB.

Written by Adam Martin.

The Parting Shot Podcast LIVE (03/20) – TJ Dillashaw Vacates Title and UFC Nashville Preview

George Garcia, james lynch, M1 Challenge, M1 Challenge 101, the parting shot, the parting shot podcast,

George Garcia Talks M-1 Debut Mar. 30 and New Management Team