TJ Dillashaw narrowly emerged with a split decision victory in his comeback fight against Cory Sandhagen last night at UFC On ESPN 27 and then revealed that he’d had an injury-plagued training camp in the lead up to his first fight back in the Octagon for two-and-a-half years.
“I had a really, really, really rough camp,” Dillashaw said post-fight. “I couldn’t even spar this whole camp. The first camp going, we were supposed to go May 8. It went smooth other than getting cut. I was able to spar. My cut was going good. The second camp around, I could not stay healthy. The first injury was that I pinched this nerve in my foot doing a slider board. Up until two days ago, I had to work out with shoes on. This is like the worst thing I could’ve been dealing with.
“I tore my MCL in my right knee. I hurt my left shoulder, as well, the whole camp. It was a real rough camp. I didn’t want to obviously talk about it. I didn’t want to make (any) excuses. I just needed to get out there. It had been two f-ing long. There was no way I was going to pull out from the fight.”
Dillashaw’s injury jinx didn’t end when he stepped into the Octagon last night though as his prior training room cut opened up again during the fight, while he also suffered a knee injury late in the first round due to a Sandhagen heel hook attempt, which affected his ability to implement his gameplan as the fight progressed.
“Unfortunately, after that first round, I couldn’t lift,” Dillashaw said. “I took his back quite a few times and I’m really good from that clinch position on the back, but I couldn’t throw my legs back and I couldn’t lift. (I was) hanging out using those knees as best I could while he was hand fighting. It was a little unfortunate. I tried doing a couple of scissor-trips. I tried lifting in that second round when I had his back, but my knee just wasn’t having it.”
Nevertheless, Dillashaw fought through it and did have some good fortune in the end when judges gave him the split decision nod, despite some believing Sandhagen had done enough to win, and now he’s turning his attention to getting back into title contention at 135lbs.