T.J. Dillashaw ‘100 percent’ was hoping to fight Jose Aldo in first title defense, predicts Petr Yan beats Sean O’Malley at UFC 280


Should T.J. Dillashaw make good on his prediction to defeat Aljamain Sterling to regain the bantamweight title at UFC 280, he knows he’ll be a very busy man in the future, but there’s one fight that he won’t likely get that he had hoped for.

Dillashaw will challenge Sterling for the title at Saturday’s event in Abu Dhabi in the co-main event. With a win, Dillashaw would have loved to defend his title against Jose Aldo. Aldo has announced his retirement as a fighter after his UFC 278 loss to Merabdvalishvili.

“100 percent [I was] interested in that,” Dillashaw told MMA Fighting. “I’ve been a giant fan of Jose Aldo for a long time, a legend in the sport, and when I even decided to become a fighter when I graduated college, it was back in the WEC days when he was fighting Urijah Faber when I was in that camp. Just knowing Jose Aldo for a long time and the killer that he was, yeah, absolutely [I would’ve loved to fight him]. It has been an amazing career.

“I definitely understand him wanting to step away. It has been an extremely long journey, but he isn’t a spring chicken any more . That’s why it’s amazing to have been at the top of this for nearly a decade .”


Ahead of his chance to become a three-time champ, Dillashaw has partnered with a company called DeleteMe and has become an advocate in helping people in the battle promoting the importance of online privacy, and protecting yourself and your family.

Another compelling 135-pound fight with high stakes between Petr Yan, a former champion, and Sean O’Malley will be held prior to the bantamweight title bout. With potential title implications involved, it’s a result Dillashaw will be paying attention to as much as he can and expects Yan to win in a competitive matchup.

“I’m definitely picking Yan to win the fight, but O’Malley’s good,” Dillashaw explained. Yan could have some issues with Yan’s timing and physical abilities, timing, timing, creativity, as well as his length in the division. I’m not counting the guy out, but from just what I’ve seen from Yan, but it’s only a three-round fight so he can’t just take a round off and let O’Malley outpoint him, but O’Malley didn’t really do that against Pedro Munhoz.

“Most likely, Yan will go out there, get it done, chop his legs out, be a little more aggressive and figure out his timing.”

Should Dillashaw beat Sterling, there is a list of possible challengers, including Dvalishvili and Marlon Vera, who are both on the rise. Dillashaw has laid out his options, but isn’t looking beyond Saturday’s fight against Sterling.

“Damn, man, we’ve got a killer weight class,” Dillashaw said. “You’ve got Yan, and I would love that fight because he looks like a killer, he likes to fight, I like his style, it would be a great matchup for me. You’ve got ‘Chito’ Vera — who I’m a huge fan of, I’m a friend of his — I really like the guy so I want to see him succeed as much as possible. I wouldn’t really want to have to fight him, but if it’s for the belt, we’re doing something great for each other.

“Merab just defeated Aldo. That’s a big statement piece. It’s possible for a number of men to fight for the title, but they will have to face some sort of challenger. I think .”