Former two-time UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw has been forced to pull out of his scheduled fight against Cory Sandhagen at UFC Vegas 26 due to a facial injury sustained in the training session.
Cory Sandhagen (14-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) was going to meets former two-time bantamweight champion Dillashaw (16-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) in the main event of UFC on ESPN 24 on May 8 in what is projected to be a No. 1 contender fight.
TJ was about to return after serving a two-year U.S. Anti-Doping Agency suspension for a positive EPO test in January 2019. During that time off, 35-year-old Dillashaw elected to undergo double shoulder surgery.
TJ suffered a cut above his eye in training as he got headbutted by his training partner. He was hopeful to compete but did not receive clearance from doctors. Twitter user C.Contreras Legaspi was first to report Dillashaw vs. Sandhagen was in jeopardy. The former UFC champ posted a statement on Tuesday announcing the news (via Instagram):
“I’m sad to say that I have to be pulled from my fight on May 8th due to a cut received from a head butt while drilling. Rescheduling the fight as soon as possible.”
The promotion is now expected to rebook Dillashaw’s fight with Sandhagen, and a strawweight bout between Michelle Waterson and Marina Rodriguez is now targeted to serve as the May 8 event’s headliner.
Rodriguez stepped in for Waterson when she was removed from UFC 257 for undisclosed reasons, and she defeated surging prospect Amanda Ribas in the January pay-per-view event. Now, the promotion expects to book them in a bout with likely title implications for the winner.
TJ Dillashaw vs Cory Sandhagen will be rescheduled
Dillashaw and Sandhagen have a bit of history, training together back when Dillashaw was the champion. However, following his 28-second KO of Frankie Edgar at UFC Vegas 18, Sandhagen caught Dillashaw with some stray shade when sniping at then-bantamweight champion Petr Yan for calling for a fight with TJ, saying that Dillashaw was “coming off some of the most serious PEDs that you can do in the sport” and calling it disrespectful to the sport and him. While this statement is objectively true, it still irked Dillashaw.
TJ’s injury delays a comeback more than two years after an anti-doping suspension cost him the bantamweight title and halted his career. In the wake of a TKO loss to then-flyweight champ Henry Cejudo, he tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) and admitted to cheating for the bout that could have made him a two-division champ.
Sandhagen wowed in his most recent performance, knocking out former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar with a flying knee to pick up his second straight win since a submission loss to current champ Aljamain Sterling delayed his trip to the top of the division.
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