TJ Dillashaw Relinquishes Title
© AFP / Sarah Stier
The UFC’s Bantamweight Champ Steps down.
News broke last night from the former champ’s Instagram. Dillashaw announced to his followers that he would be stepping down as champion of the division due to “adverse findings” from a test stemming back from his bout with “The Messenger” Henry Cejudo.
The NYSAC (New York State Athletic Commission) has announced that they will be suspending Dillashaw for one year dating back to Jan. 19th. Dillashaw made it clear to his fans that he is working hard with his team to find out what happened. Currently it is unknown what TJ failed for. USADA will be releasing a statement sometime today per multiple reports.
Where does this leave the division?
WIDE OPEN. Although it may be seen as a huge deal that a current champion has to step down due to drug testing violations, it does help alleviate the fact that the current champ went down a weight class and was defeated. From the outside looking in the larger champion should always beat the smaller champion right? Not if that smaller champion might just be the most decorated combat athlete of all time, Henry Cejudo.
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Currently the bantamweight division is full of entertaining fighters in Marlon Moraes, Raphael Assuncao, Aljamain Sterling, Pedro Munhoz, and Dominick Cruz in the top 5. Moraes has victories over both Assuncao and Sterling. So the question remains who get a shot at the belt.
This certainly throws a wrench into the plans of the Olympic gold medalist Cejudo. After defeating Dillashaw in January there was much talk about a rematch at 135 which would give Cejudo a chance to gain the illustrious Champ-Champ status. Now that Dillashaw is gone would it make sense for Cejudo to jump the line and challenge current #1 contender Moraes? Why not?
A fresh match between current 125 champ and the #1 contender of 135 would make for a potential fight of the year between Cejudo and Moraes. Both athletes have a complete game and can take the fight anywhere. It could be a fight that launches either athlete into the next level of their career.
It’s hard to imagine the UFC making a fight for the vacant title between Moraes and someone he just beat in Assuncao or Sterling. Equally as strange would be jumping someone like Cruz to the top of the queue after a long layoff and coming off a loss. That said in this day and age you can never know for sure! Stay tuned!
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