Reigning bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling and former 135-pound titleholder TJ Dillashaw are scheduled to collide in the upcoming UFC 280 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event this Sat. (Oct. 22, 2022) at Etihad Arena on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

And it should come as no surprise, especially considering all those “Needleshaw” jokes over the last few months, that Sterling would use the UFC 280 pre-fight press conference (watch it here) to trash Dillashaw for his drug test suspension back in early 2019.

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BLOCKBUSTER LIGHTWEIGHT SHOWDOWN! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Etihad Arena In Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Sat., Oct. 22, 2022, featuring a highly anticipated match up for the vacant 155-pound title between former division kingpin, Charles Oliveira, against Islam Makhachev, who enter “Fight Island” with a combined 21-fight unbeaten run. In UFC 280’s ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling defends his title against former two-time division roost-ruler, T.J. Dillashaw. Last, and certainly not least, former 135-pound champion, Petr Yan, will lock horns with superstar in the making, “Sugar” Sean O’Malley.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

“For some reason, I haven’t seen TJ in any of the ‘Embedded’ episodes,” Sterling said (transcribed by Simon Samano). “That’s how he got caught last time. I wonder if there’s something going on again that might be a little fishy, TJ.”

Sterling recently suggested that Dillashaw was finding new and creative ways to cheat ahead of UFC 280. That didn’t seem to rattle the former champion, who took a powdery page from the Jon Jones playbook and embraced his inner bad guy.

“Look, I’ve come to terms with it,” Dillashaw fired back. “It’s time now. You’re gonna get your ass whipped by a cheater, motherfucker. How do you feel about that? If he’s so worried about it, he can come test me himself. He can test these nuts in his mouth. This DJ Jazzy Jeff-looking motherfucker is gonna be down there saying like, ‘Test, test 1-2. Is this working?’ He’s gonna be a rapper supposedly. He’s already been a failed actor. Now he’s gonna be a failed rapper.”

The winner of Sterling vs. Dillashaw is expected to defend the bantamweight title against the winner of Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley at some point in early 2023. “No Mercy” and “Sugar” also throw leather on the UFC 280 main card, so don’t expect the bantamweight trash talk to go away anytime soon.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 280 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 10 a.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPNews at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 280: “Oliveira vs. Makhachev” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the complete UFC 280 fight card and PPV line up click here.