T.J. Dillashaw blasts ‘not champion caliber’ Aljamain Sterling as ‘a pretty easy fight for me;’ Sterling fires back


T.J. Dillashaw and Aljamain Sterling have already begun the trash talk.

Earlier this month, Sterling silenced his critics by beating Petr Yan at UFC 273 to retain his bantamweight title. Sterling demanded that his bantamweight title defense be against Dillashaw after the fight, saying that he “doesn’t really deserve” one. However, Sterling said that Dillashaw was not worthy of a shot at the title, and that he is willing to fight him next, if the UFC desires. With this thought in mind, Dillashaw is now taking aim at the bantamweight champion.

“I’m not too worried about Sterling,” Dillashaw told ESPN. “That callout, it’s a pretty easy fight for me, to be honest.

“I think it’s gonna be real good. He executed his strategy in fighting. He showed some weaknesses in Yan, but stylistically that fight is perfect for me, so he can say anything he wants, but he ain’t gonna be champion for much longer.”

Dillashaw is a two time UFC bantamweight champion. He first won the belt at UFC 173 with a stoppage of Renan Barao, then held the title for nearly two years before dropping it in a contentious split decision to Dominick Cruz in 2016.

Dillashaw then reclaimed the title a year later with a win over Cody Garbrandt, but vacated it after failing drug tests for EPO in 2019. Dillashaw served a two-year suspension from the sport before returning in 2021 and winning a split decision over Cory Sandhagen, putting himself in line for a possible title shot.

It’s this extensive history in the division that makes Dillashaw so confident he can beat Sterling.

“He is good,” Dillashaw stated. “He’s got some attributes. He wouldn’t be where he is without being good, but he’s definitely not champion caliber. He is far more dangerous than the guys I have fought in the past. Sterling is not in danger. Has he ever even knocked anyone out? It’s not clear. I didn’t even look at his record.

“It’s a guy that you don’t have to be worried about. He’s not going to be out-grappling my. His striking is straight pathetic, so yeah, I’m surprised that he is where he is, and stylistically it’s a great fight for me.”

Unsurprisingly, the bantamweight champion is not in agreement.

Sterling took to social media Tuesday afternoon where he responded to Dillashaw’s comments, mocking him for his PED usage and for losing to Henry Cejudo.

“Who TF have you beaten that is soOoOoo much tougher than the guys I’ve faced? This is Comedy Central. You should do stand up with Henry Cejudo. He’s your daddy, after he sonned your needled ass.”

While no decision has been made about who will challenge Dillashaw for the title of bantamweight champion, UFC President Dana White stated that Dillashaw appears to be the one with the advantage. However, he may have to wait a while as Sterling has said he’s looking to take some time off following UFC 273.