After some back and forth between different news outlets, it seems that the sad news is true. At 36 years of age, TJ Dillashaw has retired from mixed martial arts. Dillashaw has created quite the career for himself — he held the bantamweight belt twice, and even tried his hand at flyweight gold in his brief visit down to 125lbs.
In his third and only unsuccessful attempt at stealing the bantamweight title, he fell a bit short. The current champ, Aljamain Sterling, was able to out-grapple Dillashaw and secure a second round TKO victory. However, the bantamweight division has started a trend of making title fights controversial. Dillashaw was beaten and Sterling deserves the utmost respect for his performance, but Dillashaw suffered from a rather gruesome shoulder injury that undoubtedly played a factor in him losing in the fashion that he did.
Where did things go wrong?
Dillashaw noted in his post-fight interview that this injury reared it's ugly head long before the fight and, in preparation for this championship bout, he dislocated it around twenty times. With TJ Dilllashaw falling short and retiring and Jiří Procházka relinquishing his title, MMA fans are not too pleased with the shoulder injury gods as of late.
It seems that the miles are catching up to Dillashaw's body. Even this fight was after a 15 month layoff following knee surgery. Dillashaw hasn't competed more than once in a year since 2016 and has only fought three times since 2019, going 1-2.
Are we certain that Dillashaw is hanging them up?
There is speculation that Dillashaw is “retiring” just to dip out of the USADA testing pool. The former bantamweight king does have a smudge on his record with the anti-doping agency, but it could be less about illegal substances and more about some peace of mind; USADA needs to know where a fighter is and has the authority to surprise the athletes with random visits, even 5am ones on weigh-in day per a disgruntled Paulo Costa. Perhaps, and more optimistically of the former champ, this is Dillashaw utilizing a retirement loophole to have a bit of peace while dealing with this pestering injury.
Unfortunately, this is probably the end of Dillashaw's illustrious career. He is more than likely actually retired. As mentioned earlier, he's 36 years old and has done it all. He won the title when nobody expected him to, he gave himself the opportunity to fight for a second simultaneous title, and he forced himself into the bantamweight GOAT conversation — that's more than enough for one career. We wish the former champ a happy retirement and hope that whatever the next move is in his life, it treats him well
Dillashaw's career summed up
The 36 year old is closing the door on a career that gave fans a lot to watch back. He wasn't exactly on many people's radars on the way up, but when Renan Barao needed an opponent and the injured Faber threw Dillashaw's name into the mix, TJ turned in a performance that forced the MMA community to watch in awe.
From his two stoppage victories over Barao, all the way to to his last grab at gold against ‘Funkmaster', Dillashaw remained must see TV. His fancy footwork and unique striking was built off of a sold wrestling base, making him one of the most put-together fighters not just for bantamweights, but the UFC as a whole.