T.J. Dillashaw on rehabbing image post-EPO: ‘F*ck your reputation’

Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw owned up to his error in breaking the rules, and believes his next performance will “erase” the memory of his two-year anti-doping suspension for erythropoietin (EPO). Dillashaw, 35, is unconcerned about his critics heading into his comeback fight, a UFC Vegas 32 headliner against top contender Cory Sandhagen, and has strong words for anyone who thinks his focus is on rehabilitating his image. That’s in the past. “Excuse my language, but f*ck your reputation,” he told reporters, including The Mac Life, on Wednesday during a media day in support of Saturday’s event at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. “You’ve got to worry about yourself. I have a great life. I have a great family. I’m just worried about my coaches, my teammates, my family. Other than that, I could care less. “I’ve been in this game too long to scroll through the comments and think about what other people think sitting behind their computers and not having anything to achieve for.” Right now, the UFC bantamweight belt is the thing motivating two-time champ Dillashaw as he nears a fight with Sandhagen, a former training partner who’s gone on a tear at 135 pounds and is the No. 3 fighter in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings. “For me, it’s nice,” he said. “I’ve always done very well with guys I’ve trained with. I’m a very good guy about game planning, and I know where guys’ weaknesses are at. It’s nice for me to know that, but it all matters when the lights turn on. You can talk about practice all you want, but we’re not here to talk about practice – we’re here to do it in front of everyone.” The audience Dillashaw hopes to impact is UFC President Dana White, who’s lining up a bantamweight title rematch between current champ Aljamain Sterling and ex-champ Petr Yan after their first outing ended in a disastrous disqualification win for Sterling. The bout is expected to take place at UFC 267 on Oct. 30 in Abu Dhabi. “This is a real title fight, to be honest,” Dillashaw said. “I was not very impressed with Aljamain and Yan in their last fight. I think Cory Sandhagen’s the toughest in the weight class right now, and this is a true title fight. I’m the true champ coming back, and it’s time to prove it. “I think Yan, he’s the better fighter. Watching that last performance, he did very well with his game plan against Sterling, and I think he’ll win the next fight, so I’d probably rather fight him.” A cut in training delayed the Dillashaw vs. Sandhagen from UFC Vegas 26 in May to Saturday’s event, adding more time to a return that’s taken the ex-champ over two years to realize. Dillashaw said he endured additional scrutiny from the UFC’s anti-doping partner, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, to make his comeback with all of his previous samples retested from the beginning of the promotion’s drug testing program. Dillashaw believes his training has actually improved since he stopped taking EPO. “I was dying,” he said of a flyweight title fight against then-champ Henry Cejudo that led to his positive test. “There’s no way I’d ever go to 125 again. How about this? Let’s let every one of my opponents take what I was taking. I could care less, because it did not help me. I actually feel 10 times better now than going into this fight than that fight.” For the ex-champ, Saturday is the time to close the previous chapter of his career and stake his claim. Check out the full interview courtesy of The Mac Life.

T.J. Dillashaw on rehabbing image post-EPO: ‘F*ck your reputation’

Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw owned up to his error in breaking the rules, and believes his next performance will “erase” the memory of his two-year anti-doping suspension for erythropoietin (EPO).

Dillashaw, 35, is unconcerned about his critics heading into his comeback fight, a UFC Vegas 32 headliner against top contender Cory Sandhagen, and has strong words for anyone who thinks his focus is on rehabilitating his image. That’s in the past.

“Excuse my language, but f*ck your reputation,” he told reporters, including The Mac Life, on Wednesday during a media day in support of Saturday’s event at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. “You’ve got to worry about yourself. I have a great life. I have a great family. I’m just worried about my coaches, my teammates, my family. Other than that, I could care less.

“I’ve been in this game too long to scroll through the comments and think about what other people think sitting behind their computers and not having anything to achieve for.”

Right now, the UFC bantamweight belt is the thing motivating two-time champ Dillashaw as he nears a fight with Sandhagen, a former training partner who’s gone on a tear at 135 pounds and is the No. 3 fighter in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings.

“For me, it’s nice,” he said. “I’ve always done very well with guys I’ve trained with. I’m a very good guy about game planning, and I know where guys’ weaknesses are at. It’s nice for me to know that, but it all matters when the lights turn on. You can talk about practice all you want, but we’re not here to talk about practice – we’re here to do it in front of everyone.”

The audience Dillashaw hopes to impact is UFC President Dana White, who’s lining up a bantamweight title rematch between current champ Aljamain Sterling and ex-champ Petr Yan after their first outing ended in a disastrous disqualification win for Sterling. The bout is expected to take place at UFC 267 on Oct. 30 in Abu Dhabi.

“This is a real title fight, to be honest,” Dillashaw said. “I was not very impressed with Aljamain and Yan in their last fight. I think Cory Sandhagen’s the toughest in the weight class right now, and this is a true title fight. I’m the true champ coming back, and it’s time to prove it.

“I think Yan, he’s the better fighter. Watching that last performance, he did very well with his game plan against Sterling, and I think he’ll win the next fight, so I’d probably rather fight him.”

A cut in training delayed the Dillashaw vs. Sandhagen from UFC Vegas 26 in May to Saturday’s event, adding more time to a return that’s taken the ex-champ over two years to realize. Dillashaw said he endured additional scrutiny from the UFC’s anti-doping partner, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, to make his comeback with all of his previous samples retested from the beginning of the promotion’s drug testing program.

Dillashaw believes his training has actually improved since he stopped taking EPO.

“I was dying,” he said of a flyweight title fight against then-champ Henry Cejudo that led to his positive test. “There’s no way I’d ever go to 125 again. How about this? Let’s let every one of my opponents take what I was taking. I could care less, because it did not help me. I actually feel 10 times better now than going into this fight than that fight.”

For the ex-champ, Saturday is the time to close the previous chapter of his career and stake his claim. Check out the full interview courtesy of The Mac Life.

Source : MMA Fighting More   

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Artem Lobov: Conor McGregor shouldn’t have been interviewed immediately after UFC 264 injury

Artem Lobov | Denys LisovetsFew men in the world know Conor McGregor better than Artem Lobov. “The Russian Hammer” has been a close friend and training partner of McGregor for years, with their relationship entering the broader MMA consciousness when Lobov was cast to be part of McGregor’s team on The Ultimate Fighter 22 in 2015. Lobov made the finals of that season and went on to have a memorable seven-fight run in the UFC, which included headlining UFC Nashville opposite Cub Swanson. Since parting ways with the UFC in 2019, Lobov has gone on to become one of the faces of the resurgence of bare-knuckle boxing, competing three times for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. This Saturday, he fights Ukrainian Olympic silver medalist Denys Berinchyk in a bare-knuckle bout at a Mahatch FC event in Kyiv. The event is being sponsored by betting site Parimatch and will air live on FITE TV pay-per-view at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. Though COVID-19 led to the cancellation of Lobov’s most recent MMA booking, an Arena Fight Championship event in Paris this past December, he has still been able to prepare for his fights at SBG Ireland. Unsurprisingly, Lobov was watching closely when his longtime gym mate McGregor went down with a leg injury in his trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264, and he almost wishes he hadn’t been. “I was supporting him as always,” Lobov told MMA Fighting. “Nobody wants to see that kind of stuff happen to a close friend. I’ll be honest with you, I hate looking at them even when it’s somebody that I don’t know. When it happened to Chris Weidman and some of the kickboxers I’ve seen, it’s horrible. I just try and change the channel and can’t look at it, it’s just horrible. Because I understand I have to go in there one day as well and this could happen to me also. For those reasons, I don’t really like looking at it and that was all multiplied a thousand times when you see it happen to a close friend of yours. “It was very unfortunate, but what can you do, this is the fight game, this is as real as it gets and maybe that shows the world that look, this isn’t just a game. This is not playing. This is people’s health and lives at stake here, so maybe have a little more respect for the fighters.” McGregor’s injury wasn’t the only talking point coming out of UFC 264. His pre-fight feud with Poirier bubbled over post-fight with some ugly personal attacks following an interview with Joe Rogan that occurred while McGregor’s broken leg was still being treated. Lobov didn’t defend McGregor’s choice of words, but he questioned whether a fighter like that should have a microphone stuck in their face so soon after suffering an injury. “It was a mad situation,” Lobov said. “I mean, look at the way Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman were after his injury happened. … [McGregor] was still sitting up and I do think interviews shouldn’t even happen in that scenario. I’m surprised that it did happen. It shouldn’t have happened, but it is what it is in a way. You have to move on and live to fight another day. Now it’s time to heal, train, fix mistakes, and go back again. That’s it.” For now, it appears fans won’t be seeing McGregor in action for at least a year as he rehabs from surgery for a broken tibia and fibula. When next July rolls around, the former two-division champion will be 34 years old. Lobov is optimistic that McGregor can return to form, pointing to the fact that McGregor suffered an ACL injury in just his second UFC fight (a win over future featherweight champion Max Holloway in 2013) and later went on to become arguably the most famous fighter in MMA. “This is gonna be a process of healing and recovery first and then slowly build it back up because then you’re going to have to build some confidence in it,” Lobov said. “But you know, after something like this, it’s still going to take you some time, I would imagine, to start healing and kicking with it. It’s going to be a slow process, but I remember when Conor came back from his ACL injury, he’s done that twice, he did it better than anyone before him. I have no doubt it’s going to be the same result this time.”

Artem Lobov: Conor McGregor shouldn’t have been interviewed immediately after UFC 264 injury
Artem Lobov | Denys Lisovets

Few men in the world know Conor McGregor better than Artem Lobov.

“The Russian Hammer” has been a close friend and training partner of McGregor for years, with their relationship entering the broader MMA consciousness when Lobov was cast to be part of McGregor’s team on The Ultimate Fighter 22 in 2015. Lobov made the finals of that season and went on to have a memorable seven-fight run in the UFC, which included headlining UFC Nashville opposite Cub Swanson.

Since parting ways with the UFC in 2019, Lobov has gone on to become one of the faces of the resurgence of bare-knuckle boxing, competing three times for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. This Saturday, he fights Ukrainian Olympic silver medalist Denys Berinchyk in a bare-knuckle bout at a Mahatch FC event in Kyiv. The event is being sponsored by betting site Parimatch and will air live on FITE TV pay-per-view at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.

Though COVID-19 led to the cancellation of Lobov’s most recent MMA booking, an Arena Fight Championship event in Paris this past December, he has still been able to prepare for his fights at SBG Ireland. Unsurprisingly, Lobov was watching closely when his longtime gym mate McGregor went down with a leg injury in his trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264, and he almost wishes he hadn’t been.

“I was supporting him as always,” Lobov told MMA Fighting. “Nobody wants to see that kind of stuff happen to a close friend. I’ll be honest with you, I hate looking at them even when it’s somebody that I don’t know. When it happened to Chris Weidman and some of the kickboxers I’ve seen, it’s horrible. I just try and change the channel and can’t look at it, it’s just horrible. Because I understand I have to go in there one day as well and this could happen to me also. For those reasons, I don’t really like looking at it and that was all multiplied a thousand times when you see it happen to a close friend of yours.

“It was very unfortunate, but what can you do, this is the fight game, this is as real as it gets and maybe that shows the world that look, this isn’t just a game. This is not playing. This is people’s health and lives at stake here, so maybe have a little more respect for the fighters.”

McGregor’s injury wasn’t the only talking point coming out of UFC 264. His pre-fight feud with Poirier bubbled over post-fight with some ugly personal attacks following an interview with Joe Rogan that occurred while McGregor’s broken leg was still being treated.

Lobov didn’t defend McGregor’s choice of words, but he questioned whether a fighter like that should have a microphone stuck in their face so soon after suffering an injury.

“It was a mad situation,” Lobov said. “I mean, look at the way Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman were after his injury happened. … [McGregor] was still sitting up and I do think interviews shouldn’t even happen in that scenario. I’m surprised that it did happen. It shouldn’t have happened, but it is what it is in a way. You have to move on and live to fight another day. Now it’s time to heal, train, fix mistakes, and go back again. That’s it.”

For now, it appears fans won’t be seeing McGregor in action for at least a year as he rehabs from surgery for a broken tibia and fibula. When next July rolls around, the former two-division champion will be 34 years old.

Lobov is optimistic that McGregor can return to form, pointing to the fact that McGregor suffered an ACL injury in just his second UFC fight (a win over future featherweight champion Max Holloway in 2013) and later went on to become arguably the most famous fighter in MMA.

“This is gonna be a process of healing and recovery first and then slowly build it back up because then you’re going to have to build some confidence in it,” Lobov said. “But you know, after something like this, it’s still going to take you some time, I would imagine, to start healing and kicking with it. It’s going to be a slow process, but I remember when Conor came back from his ACL injury, he’s done that twice, he did it better than anyone before him. I have no doubt it’s going to be the same result this time.”

Source : MMA Fighting More   

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