TJ Dillashaw Retires After Undergoing Shoulder Surgery

TJ Dillashaw has reportedly informed the UFC that he is retiring after undergoing surgery in an attempt to repair a serious shoulder injury.

The 36-year-old’s shoulder issues has been on full display in his last fight, which saw the former titleholder challenging current champion Aljamain Sterling for the belt, only to almost immediately suffer a dislocated shoulder in the opening round, and while it was put back in place between rounds it came out again in the second, leading to a TKO stoppage loss.

Afterwards, Dillashaw revealed that he’d been plagued by the injury during his training camp, with his shoulder popping out on numerous occasions, and as such he was now going to undergo surgery.

Unfortunately it seems that the injury is serious enough that it’s going to require a very lengthy rehab period and so he’s taken the decision to call time on his UFC career.

“Basically around a month ago, he had the shoulder surgery coming off the Aljamain Sterling fight,” ESPN’s Ariel Helwani revealed. “And afterwards, when he met with his surgeon, the surgeon told him that it’s going to be a long road—and there’s a chance that he might need a second surgery down the line; that it’s a very delicate injury, that it’s one of the worst injuries to a shoulder that that particular surgeon had ever seen… [Dillashaw] told Tiki that he wanted to walk away, that he had had enough. It came as a shock to both Tiki and the UFC, I’m told.”

It’s worth noting that Dillashaw’s publicist had originally denied that he was retiring, but the UFC have since confirmed via his manager that he has informed them of his decision.

Dillashaw held the bantamweight title on two separate occasions during his UFC run, first defeating Renan Barao by TKO to seize the belt back in 2014, before making successful defenses against Joe Soto and another victory over Barao, before losing to Dominick Cruz by split decision.

In 2017 he won the belt back with a TKO victory over his former training partner Cody Garbrandt and also KO’d him in their immediate rematch, before an ill-fated drop down to flyweight to challenge Henry Cejudo for that belt, which not only led to him being TKO’d in just 32 seconds, but also saw him being banned from the sport for two years afterwards due to testing positive for EPO.

That somewhat tarnished Dillashaw’s legacy, though he still bows out of the sport with a 13-5 UFC record and 17-5 record overall.

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.