T.J. Dillashaw will be keeping a close eye on how things play out on 6 March.
UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan is set to defend his title for the first time against contender Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259.
Dillashaw, a former two-time UFC champion at 135 pounds, became eligible to fight once again in January after serving his two-year suspension handed to him by USADA for testing positive for EPO prior to his bout with Henry Cejudo.
Now that he is back in the frame, Dillashaw sees both Yan and Sterling as immediate rivals in the bantamweight division and offered his opinion on who he believes will walk away the victor at UFC 259.
“He [Yan] lost in the past to a guy that’s in Bellator just by getting outwrestled, so we’ll see the gains he’s made in his MMA wrestling,” Dillashaw told Mike Swick on the Real Quick with Mike Swick podcast [H/T MMAJunkie]. “I would still probably put my money on Yan just because he’s a little more well-rounded structurally and on the feet.
“I think he’ll be able to keep the distance good enough. But you can’t underestimate a tough-nosed wrestler. So he can’t be counting his chickens before they hatch because he’s trying to call me out, but he’s got to get past Sterling and stay on top.”
The Californian believes Russia’s Yan will remain champion and he wants to fight the man with the belt next. For what it’s worth, Yan hasn’t been quiet in calling out Dillashaw in return. At present, it’s not been determined that Dillashaw will get an immediate title shot after failing that aforementioned drug test.