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Juan Archuleta: T.J. Dillashaw Will be “a Lot Better” in UFC Return

Although T.J. Dillashaw hasn't fought in nearly two years, and is close to 35, teammate Juan Archuleta believes he's better than ever.

Recently T.J. Dillashaw warned the UFC’s bantamweight division that his hunt to reclaim the title will begin soon. Based off comments his teammate Juan Archuleta recently made about the former champ, it sounds like he’s confident Dillashaw could hoist the bantamweight belt again.

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Archulata believes Dillashaw will be “a lot better”

Currently Dillashaw isn’t booked for his next bout. But, on January 19th, 2021, the two-year suspension he received for testing positive recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) will be up.

Dillashaw tested positive for the banned substance following his quick, stoppage loss to now former flyweight and bantamweight champ Henry Cejudo in January, 2019.

Recently Archuleta spoke with TMZ Sports, and while talking about his teammate Dillashaw, the Bellator contender said this (quotes via MMA Junkie).

“T.J.’s doing well, man. He’s getting big, strong recovering from his double surgery, the shoulder surgeries, that he had.

Of course, his suspension is coming to an end so we’re getting him ready so that when his suspension is lifted he’s gonna be ready to be in the title mix.”

“I honestly think he’ll be a lot better,” he suggested. “You get that time off and you get to rest the brain, rest the body, and that guy’s always ‘pedal to the metal.’

So he gets to recover his whole body. People don’t know he was dealing with two shoulder surgeries going into that fight.

Every other practice, I swear to you, man, we’d be wrestling or scrapping and his shoulder would just pop out!”

Time will tell

It will be interesting to see how Dillashaw looks and performs in his comeback run. It should be noted that Archuleta isn’t the only person to predict that an improved and or reinvigorated Dillashaw will return to the cage.

After all, he’s had time to rest up, and as Archuleta noted, he’ll come back having dealt with his shoulder issues.

That said, Dillashaw is turning 35 next February. While that’s still a young age in the grand scheme of things, for fighters, particularly smaller fighters, 35’s typically considered outside of the prime years.

There’s also the question regarding Dillashaw’s skill set. Has he added new weapons to his arsenal? After Dillashaw recently warned the bantamweight division, Sterling alluded to this question.

“Those tricks are old now man. There’s new kids on the block and I’m not even just talking about me. Win 1-2 fights and then maybe he can have a shot at my throne.”

If you’re wondering about Archuleta, he’s booked to fight Patrick Mix, September 12th, for Bellator’s vacant bantamweight title.

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