T.J. Dillashaw was already in training and itching to get back in the Octagon when the UFC asked him to fill in as a replacement against Issei Tamura at UFC 158 on March 16.
In a recent interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, Dillashaw discussed the injury that had put him on the sidelines, his recovery and much more.
On fighting again: “I was supposed to fight in December against Mike Easton, but I got injured and had to sit out, which I was very disappointed. I felt that was a good fight for me and a good way to jump up in the rankings. It’s been like nine months since I fought. It’s made me hungry.”
On his injury: “I dislocated my AC joint in my shoulder pretty much just wrestling. I fell on my shoulder, and a teammate landed on top of me. It’s a little joint that holds your collarbone into your shoulder. It’s just connected by some cartilage and a little bit of ligament, and what happened was, when I landed on it, it dislocated that little joint. You can see that bone for the rest of my life now. It’ll be above my shoulder. It just kind of lays over my shoulder. It doesn’t sit in the socket the right way anymore. It was pretty painful. It felt like I broke my collarbone. There’s a long healing process. … It doesn’t look that great, but it doesn’t hurt at all.”
On what he trained while injured: “I worked on my standup a lot. Grappling was kind of the harder part with my shoulder. I did a lot of standup work. … I’ve gotten some new looks and I’m real excited to show it off.”
On Duane Ludwig, who’s coaching at Team Alpha Male now: “Man, that guy is dedicated. It’s nice to have someone around you that’s just as dedicated to being a coach as you are to being a fighter. He’s in the gym more than I am, looking at tape when he’s not in the gym, or if he is in the gym and has some downtime, he’s watching tape on everyone’s opponents. He holds everyone accountable for showing up late. He’s not only making our top guys in the UFC better but the guys you don’t even know about yet, which makes us better. His technique is just amazing. It’s like almost going back to college days and having a head coach again.”
On wrestlers falling in love with their striking: “I’ve seen that happen to a lot of guys, top-of-the-line wrestlers who just want to strike. You do get addicted to it. It is something fun. You learn something new and it’s fun to practice. [It] just gets old doing the same stuff, but trust me, I know where I can win fights and I know where I’m dominant.”
On fighting Tamura on roughly one month’s notice: “I was helping Urijah [Faber] out for his camp. I was helping Joseph [Benavidez] out for his camp before that. I’m just as in shape now as I pretty much am for a fight. I feel really good about it. That’s one thing about our camp: We’re always ready to fight.”
On knowing he can take Tamura down and also stop his takedowns: “That’s a huge factor. I feel like I can be as aggressive as I want. Even if he were to take me down, I’d still be in great position to scramble. It’s not going to happen, but it does give me more confidence to be able to throw the combos I want and be as aggressive as I want. On the other hand, it also sets up my takedowns a lot. I think that’s the most important thing for wrestlers to learn -- how to strike, so you can actually set your takedowns up.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:06:09).