Aljamain Sterling says ‘there’s no doubt’ that T.J. Dillashaw is taking performance-enhancing drugs

Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling takes on a former titleholder with a history in the UFC 280 co-main event in Abu Dhabi on October 22.

Sterling (21-3) puts his title on the line against T.J. Dillashaw (17-4). In March 2019, Dillashaw relinquished the UFC bantamweight championship after USADA and the New York State Athletic Commission found adverse findings following his flyweight bout against Henry Cejudo at UFC Fight Night 143.

Dillashaw was initially suspended by the NYSAC for 12-months, but later received a two-year ban from USADA for testing positive to recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) prior to the Cejudo bout.

Dillashaw returned to the octagon in July 2021, and returned to the bantamweight division. He defeated Corey Sandhagen by split decision and reemerged as an immediate contender in the weight class he was once a champion in.

If Sterling had to guess, he’d say that Dillashaw is still using some from of performance-enhancing substance.

“If I had to make a prediction, I would say there’s definitely no doubt in my mind that that guy’s finding some type of doctor or little microdosing or whatever, however that shit works. I guarantee you he’s finding some type of way to get an edge once again, as he’s done his entire UFC career. So, I already made peace with it. So, at the end of the day, it is what it is,” Sterling told Submission Radio.

“Like, I made the acknowledgement that I’m gonna step into there with this guy, knowing that there’s a high chance of this happening. And it is what it is, man. I feel like this is not gonna be the first guy I fought that’s been on some supps, some extra supps. So, I think my hard work and skillset is enough to get the job done before, and I think it can get the job done again,” continued Sterling.

Dillashaw’s positive drug test and suspension is a black eye on his UFC legacy, but Sterling doesn’t think PED use is going to mean much on October 22.

“At the end of the day, his usage of PEDs won’t make his fight IQ better. And I don’t think he’s fought anyone with my type of style. He could say whatever he wants in terms of it’s an easy fight, ‘striking is embarrassing’, all this stuff he’s saying. Like I said, the trash talk, someone’s gotta eat their words and someone’s gonna look very, very stupid. And I just really don’t think it’s gonna be me,” he said.

Sterling considers Dillashaw as one of the greatest bantamweights in the promotion’s history, but stopped short of calling Dillashaw a legend.

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“I view TJ as, I don’t wanna say legend, but he’s one of the greatest of all time in the bantamweight division. I mean, that’s facts just based on the numbers of wins that he’s had, him winning the belt. But I know firsthand that he has not done that the clean way like you should,” Sterling said.

“I think my way of viewing TJ is, he’s good, but he’s never done anything honest. And that lets me know he’s got some type of mental weakness in there. And I can crack it and find that chink of his armour somewhere in there within those 25 minutes, and I entirely plan on doing that…

“He can sit there and smile on the cage as much as he wants, yell at Bruce Buffer. I know all his mannerisms, I know all the things he’s done, he’s gonna do, and I think he’s an older cat now. I think he’s a little bit more of a shell of himself. Maybe that was a testament to how good Corey Sandhagen is in his stand-up. But he’s fighting a guy who can strike, he’s fighting a guy who can wrestle. And I think that’s gonna be the biggest difference in this type of match-up. So, I’m going in there, I respect everything he’s done. That’s my mindset. And yeah, I think he’s a one of the greatest of all times of this bantamweight division. But at the same time, I know none of that was done on a clean slate. So, it makes me feel a little bit more at ease that I’ve done it the right way. And when we do fight, we’re gonna find out who’s the best guy.”