T.J. Dillashaw, a two-time UFC bantamweight champion, has informed the organization that he would no longer compete in mixed martial arts.
Dillashaw decided to retire after having to have yet another major surgery to fix shoulder injuries caused following his most recent defeat to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 280. Prior shoulder issues have troubled Dillashaw, who underwent surgery on both arms during facing a two-year suspension for violating the UFC's anti-doping policy by ingesting recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO).
Executives from the UFC acknowledged that Tiki Ghosn, Dillashaw's manager, notified the organization of Dillashaw's desire to quit. The news was initially announced on Twitter by Michael Wonsover. According to MMA journalist Ariel Helwani, Tiki Ghosn disclosed that his client's choice was motivated by the shoulder operation. Helwani said:
"Basically, around a month ago, he had the shoulder surgery, coming off the Aljamain Sterling fight. 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."
T.J. Dillashaw's choice, according to Helwani, surprised both the UFC and his manager, and the organization only recently learned about it.
Dillashaw was anticipated to be absent following the most recent procedure for at least the upcoming year, with the possibility of more surgery. The move to inform the UFC that he will be retiring from MMA was made as a result of the realization that that was eventually a bridge too far for Dillashaw to foresee any realistic schedule to return to competition.
Dillashaw departs as one of the best bantamweights in MMA history with two distinct title stints in the UFC if his departure includes all combat sports.
In 2014, Dillashaw defeated Renan Barao in a surprise upset to win the title. A little over a year afterward, he recreated the feat by dominating the Brazilian. Following a razor-thin split decision loss to Dominick Cruz, he won two consecutive fights before actually knocking out Cody Garbrandt, an ex-teammate, to win back the title.
Dillashaw decided to try for a two-division championship following defeating Garbrandt a second time, descending to flyweight to contend for the 125-pound crown. He was unsuccessful, losing to Henry Cejudo in just 32 seconds.
After admitting he had screened positive for EPO and received a two-year suspension, Dillashaw gave up his bantamweight belt. When he ultimately came back, he defeated Cory Sandhagen before losing to Sterling. Dillashaw leaves the sport with a career record of 17-5.