Former Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz believes the suspension handed down to fellow 135-pounder T.J. Dillashaw for his failed doping test could end up benefiting him in the long-term.
Cruz and Dillashaw shared the Octagon back at UFC Fight Night 81 in January 2016 when the pair engaged in a five-round bantamweight title fight. “The Dominator” got the nod on the night edging out a split decision victory to reclaim his 135-pound belt.
Late last month, Dillashaw relinquished the bantamweight belt after adverse findings were discovered in a drug test taken prior to his flyweight title fight against Henry Cejudo back in January. Last week the New York State Athletic Commission suspended Dillashaw for one-year as a result of those findings and the United States Anti-Doping Agency gave him a two-year ban for injectable EPO (recombinant human erythropoietin) retroactive from his fight against Cejudo on Jan. 19, 2019.
Cruz made an appearance on the latest episode of “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show” and discussed his former opponent’s two-year suspension.
“I wouldn’t have been surprised if he did or he didn’t test [positive], to be honest,” Cruz said. “Realistically, I have no attachments to T.J. Dillashaw or his decisions. I just don’t. He chose this… I actually feel bad for him. Regardless of what I think, the world believes that there’s an asterisk next to [his career]. Same with Jon Jones. There’s an asterisk next to the story. So at this point, I think he’s going to come back. Two years really is nothing. I’ve been out longer than that injured. And he’s just going to get healthy.
“That’s all that’s going to happen,” Cruz added. “T.J. Dillashaw’s going to take two years, raise his kid. Probably be a good father to his kid which is better for his family. He’s going to heal up. Who knows what he’s going to do in his off time. Who knows how much healthier, how much better he gets, if he fills any gaps. I honestly think that when T.J. Dillashaw comes back he’s going to be better than he was when he left. Because he’s going to be rested and he’s going to have time for his family. [The suspension time is] being played out as a much bigger picture than it is. If anything it’s a gift.”