A lead story heading into UFC Vegas 32 is the return of TJ Dillashaw following a two-year ban after testing positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) in 2019. It feels like almost everyone in the sport has been asked about it. Including his main event opponent on July 24, Cory Sandhagen. And the second-ranked bantamweight only has one word to describe Dillashaw’s failed test. “Gross”
Cory Sandhagen calls TJ Dillashaw’s failed drug test ‘gross’
In an interview with ESPN [h/t BJPenn], the 29-year-old was asked for his opinion on the former two-time bantamweight champion’s PED use two years ago before his loss to Henry Cejudo, in a bid to move down and win the flyweight title.
“There’s lines that you don’t cross in the sport. Like you shouldn’t try to cheap-shot people. You shouldn’t go outside the rules while you’re in there, and you really shouldn’t do anything that is illegal in order to give you a huge advantage in a fight. As a competitor and as a person; it doesn’t bother me. TJ has to live with [his] decisions. I have to live with my decisions. But it is a little bit gross in my opinion, to put yourself in an illegal advantage in a one-on-one combat scenario,” Sandhagen said.
“In something that you really love. If there’s a word for it, it’s kinda just gross. Honestly, I don’t need any more motivation to hate someone and beat someone up other than TJ’s trying to take my dream away from me.”
Although he has disdain for his former teammate’s prior use of performance enhancers, the Colorado native has nothing but respect for Dillashaw’s skills and talent as a competitor and athlete.
“I think TJ’s a really great competitor. I think he’s obviously a great athlete. As far as TJ’s skills go and his mentality, I’m complimentary in that way. I think that’s what TJ’s good at,” said Sandhagen. “He’s good at turning himself into a killer. Going out and being a really good athlete, and fighting really well. The guy’s a good fighter. Of course, I feel I’m better than he is.”
Sandhagen will get to prove he’s better on Saturday night inside the UFC Apex, in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC Vegas 32 will air on ESPN and stream on ESPN+ starting at 4 pm ET. The main card portion of the event begins at 7 pm ET.