Aljamain Sterling left ‘shocked’ after failed TJ Dillashaw drug test, but vows to gain redemption against Marlon Moraes

UFC star Aljamain Sterling was left “shocked” after TJ Dillashaw failed a drug test and relinquished his bantamweight title.

Last week Dillashaw, 33, relinquished the UFC title after it emerged he failed a pre-fight drug test dating back to his loss against Henry Cejudo in January.

 UFC star Aljamain Sterling was 'shocked' after it emerged rival TJ Dillashaw failed a pre-fight drug test

2015 Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
7
UFC star Aljamain Sterling was 'shocked' after it emerged rival TJ Dillashaw failed a pre-fight drug test
 Dillashaw relinquished his UFC bantamweight title for the failed test which was taken before losing to Henry Cejudo

AP:Associated Press
7
Dillashaw relinquished his UFC bantamweight title for the failed test which was taken before losing to Henry Cejudo

The news of Dillashaw's failed test was a shock to Sterling, but the 29-year-old told SunSport an opportunity has now opened up for him and his fellow 135 pounders.

I was shocked as I really looked at TJ as one of the greatest bantamweights of all time and I was waiting to fight him one day.

Aljamain Sterling on TJ Dillashaw

Sterling said: "I was kinda shocked, there has been talk about it from one of his past opponents and team-mates Cody Garbrandt, but it’s been a long time since that fight and nothing came up.

“I figured it was just a rumour, but like they say whenever there’s smoke, there’s fire, so maybe there’s some truth behind that.

“I was shocked as I really looked at TJ as one of the greatest bantamweights of all time and I was waiting to fight him one day.

“The one thing I knew instantly is it opened up an opportunity for me and the other bantamweights.”

MARLON MORAES REMATCH

Sterling could stand to benefit from Dillashaw losing the title, as his former opponent Marlon Moraes will now fight Henry Cejudo for the vacant strap at UFC 238.

Despite coming off a three-fight win streak, including a points win against Jimmie Rivera in February, the UFC decided to give flyweight champion Cejudo a shot at the vacant belt against Moraes.

If Moraes is to claim the bantamweight title, it could offer Sterling the ultimate redemption, having suffered a KO loss to the Brazilian in December 2017.

 Sterling believes Dillashaw relinquishing the belt opens up more opportunities for the bantamweight division

7
Sterling believes Dillashaw relinquishing the belt opens up more opportunities for the bantamweight division
 Funk Master is 17-3 in his MMA career coming off three straight wins

7
Funk Master is 17-3 in his MMA career coming off three straight wins
 The 29-year-old picked up a big win against Jimmie Rivera in his last fight back in February

7
The 29-year-old picked up a big win against Jimmie Rivera in his last fight back in February

Moraes defeated Sterling after catching the American with a knee, though Funk Master vows to gain “redemption” when the pair inevitably square off again.

Sterling added: “Personally I don’t give a s*** about Marlon – I felt the knockout was luck, he described it in the post-fight interview as it not really being intentional.

“When someone asks you if you meant that, and you don’t say yes, obviously there has to be some kind of luck to it.

“He said that I’ve been talking and acting like a tough guy, and it’s kind of funny because after I lost to him there wasn’t much I could say other than I thought it was luck.

“I’ve had to battle my way back, I’m here now at the top of the mountain and now I’m screaming that was luck.

"You said it, I said it and yeah you won the fight but I’m here for redemption after redeeming myself with three hard fought victories.

“I don’t think that’s me acting like a tough guy, that’s me acting like a competitor.

"He’s in my weight class and eventually we'll cross paths again and give the fans the real show they deserve.

“One fight that makes sense is Pedro Munoz – he won his last fight, I won my last fight and I’m No3 he’s No4 and I think it’s about time we figured it out and find out who the real No1 contender is.”

 Marlon Moraes defeated Sterling in December 2017 by KO

Getty – Contributor
7
Marlon Moraes defeated Sterling in December 2017 by KO
 Sterling was KO'd after a knee, but the American is ready for redemption in a rematch

Getty – Contributor
7
Sterling was KO'd after a knee, but the American is ready for redemption in a rematch

UFC star Aljamain Sterling was left “shocked” after TJ Dillashaw failed a drug test and relinquished his bantamweight title.