‘Conor McGregor Made Me the Biggest Villain’- T.J. Dillashaw Looks Back at his ‘Snake in the Grass’ Moniker

Published 07/22/2021, 11:32 AM EDT
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 04: TJ Dillashaw reacts during his UFC bantamweight championship bout against Cody Garbrandt during the UFC 217 event at Madison Square Garden on November 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)


Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw spoke to the media going into his return fight against Cory Sandhagen. Dillashaw headlines the fight card and is back in action after serving a two-year USADA suspension after popping for EPO. Chiefly, a key narrative surrounding Dillashaw’s return is entrenched in talks about his suspension and former PED usage.

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Dillashaw has become somewhat of a villain in the eyes of many fans and it’s understandable considering his fall from grace. When talking to reporters he expanded on this narrative and revealed that it was McGregor’s infamous ‘snake in the grass’ that turned fans against him. T.J. Dillashaw had moved away from his camp Team Alpha Male and McGregor implied he was betraying his former team.

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – JANUARY 18: TJ Dillashaw poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at Barclays Center on January 18, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“I became the villain, I think pretty easily when I was fighting against Garbrandt. It was like such an easy narrative of me being the snake. Conor McGregor made me the biggest villain you can because he has all this power behind him right, anything he said was gold. I was the ‘snake in the grass’ and I traded teams.”

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“I was doing what you needed to do to become the best im the world. Yeah, I was thinking about myself. I am in a one man sport, if you’re not doing it then you’re a fu**ing idiot. If you want to be the best in the world, travel the world, train with the best, be selfish in this sport.”
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“I’m the CEO of T.J. Dillashaw. A lot of these other fighter let their managers make their decisions for them, or their coaches. I make my decisions. I’m the CEO of this business.”

T.J. Dillashaw: Relentless in his pursuit

Even casual MMA fans fully know Dillashaw’s drive that ultimately led him to use unfair means. He’s been criticized for many things during his career, which includes being a ‘bad teammate’ by going too hard during sparring.

LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 03: (L-R) Opponents TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt face off during the UFC 227 weigh-in inside the Orpheum Theater on August 3, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

To Dillashaw’s credit, he has candidly spoken out on the same at different intervals of his career. He hasn’t tried to deflect the criticism that has come his way and in turn, has earned the respect of many fans.

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Ultimately, it’s his performances under the bright lights of the cage that will matter the most above all else. Fans are excited to tune in to see if he returns to his former glory.

Read this story: 5 Interesting Facts You Need to Know About Jairzinho Rozenstruik

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Darryl Pinto

1797 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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