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T.J. Dillashaw gives grim outlook on injury that forced UFC retirement

T.J. Dillashaw doubts he’ll be able to compete again.

The former two-time UFC bantamweight champion underwent multiple shoulder surgeries after losing his title fight to Aljamain Sterling in October 2022. Dillashaw went into the fight injured and wound up dislocating his shoulder during the fight.

It’s been a long road to recovery for 38-year-old Dillashaw (17-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC), who is still in the healing process. When asked by Quinton “Rampage” Jackson if he still wants to chase his goal of becoming a jiu-jitsu blackbelt, Dillashaw did not provide a positive response.

“I can’t even raise my arm up in the air yet,” Dillashaw said on the “JAXXON PODCAST.” “I don’t even know if my shoulder is ever going to be the same again. It’s f*cking depressing. As a competitor, you have to be delusionally optimistic, but that’s also what got me in this position, too. It’s just gotten worse and worse from each surgery.

“I had a massive surgery. I went to the world’s best specialist, and it’s like he’s never seen anything like it. It looked like a bomb went off in there. … There is a lot of healing to be done, and I’m hoping that maybe it’s just like me staying after my PTs is going to make it better and better and better, but this is my third surgery since my last fight, and it’s not looking good.”

Dillashaw retired after losing to Sterling but said he’d consider returning if his shoulder healed. But with his shoulder still causing him problems, Dillashaw appears to have closed the door on returning entirely.

“It’s exciting, and it’s sad at the same time.” Dillashaw said of watching fights. “Like, I’m f*cking done, you know what I mean? I was forced out of the sport, and it sucks. I feel like I had so much more to give still. It is exciting. That’s the way I look at it.”

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