Cody Garbrandt returned to the business to win on Saturday and now sees a large bantamweight field open in front of him.
With a knockout punch from Raphael Assuncao in the UFC 250 co-event at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Garbrandt broke a three-game skid when he returned to action after a 15-month hiatus from competition. The former UFC champion was asked about a variety of possible fights at the evening’s pre-fight press conference and responded by speaking first to Petr Yan.
Yan is expected to fight Jose Aldo for a vacant bantamweight title at an upcoming “Fight Island” event, but Garbrandt considers himself worthy of this championship opportunity.
“I’ve heard they are going to” Fight Island “and there is only one name I want to fight on” Fight Island “is Petr Yan,” said Garbrandt. “So Dana, I’m in good health, I’m ready, I want this bracelet to come back, I want this world championship to come back. It is vacant for a reason and it is my destiny to recover it. So I’m going to go through who they need me from, but it’s inevitable that it’s mine. ”
If Garbrandt’s request for a title shot was not granted, he seemed comfortable with other scenarios that would keep him on the path of contenders. He expressed interest in a bantamweight tournament, suggesting that the fighters stay on “Fight Island” for “a few months” to sort things out.
He also took a moment to become poetic by naming who he considered his greatest challenge in the division.
“He’s old Cody,” said Garbrandt. “It’s me against me, always. If old Cody comes back, f ** k, he’s a scary guy. Cody 2.0 is here. I just have to keep improving in my profession, outside my profession, doing the right things in life, making the right decisions and everything else falls into place. I fear no man, I fear myself. ”
Two other names that came up were Garbrandt’s former rival, T.J. Dillashaw, and rising star Sean O’Malley. Garbrandt and Dillashaw clashed in a pair of title fights, Dillashaw hitting Garbrandt twice, while O’Malley entered Garbrandt’s orbit on Saturday night after the two fighters recorded knockouts on time strong. After Garbrandt’s victory, O’Malley tweeted, “Decent. “
Currently, Dillashaw is serving a two-year suspension from USADA after being tested positive for the EPO in January 2019. Garbrandt still wants to avenge his two losses against Dillashaw in the future.
“We are talking about T.J. who is still suspended,” said Garbrandt. “He’s not even in there, but it’s a fight I would like to resume. We all know what he was doing, we all knew what he was doing, it took him so many times to skate through USADA, unfortunately. He’s serving his sentence, he will always have to live with that the rest of his life, he has a child who has eyes on him and who knows that his father was a cheater. The whole world admired him, many young children. It’s sad.
“I feel a little bad for the guy, he has no confidence that he has to use this kind of aid to be a fighter. We will see. I’ll be at the world championship, I’ll be at the top, so if it goes up there, open the doors, let’s go. ”
Regarding O’Malley, Garbrandt was specifically asked to say if he saw any similarities between his own rapid climb to the top and O’Malley’s current sequence of activities. “No Love” rejected the comparison.
“No parallels,” said Garbrandt. “I was 25 years old, world champion. He is 25 years old. I was 11-0 world champion. He hasn’t fought anyone in the top-15. How many people have I fought in the top-15? In less than two years at the UFC, I became a world champion. It’s a fast track. I fought the best, I am the best, it will be the best. No comparison.
“I will say that I like his style. I love her flashy little hair. It’s cool for the division. So keep doing your thing, keep getting those wins, we’ll see you upstairs, buddy. ”
Overall, UFC 250 has been a showcase for the bantamweight division, with Garbrandt, O’Malley, Aljamain Sterling and Cody Stamann all winning big wins. Sterling may be just ahead of Garbrandt in the rankings after scoring a submission victory over Cory Sandhagen, but the depth of the division is one of the reasons Garbrandt is looking forward to returning to the octagon as soon as possible.
“The simple act of looking at bantamweight becomes so much of an exaggeration – not even exaggeration, but recognition at night, I was just excited,” said Garbrandt. “There will be so many potential fights that I can have. There are so many potential performance bonuses that I’m going to get in my bank from all these guys. They come out and show up, I’m excited for the bantamweight division. It’s the best division in the UFC.
“We have killers. It’s a shark tank. You have Dominick Cruz, you have Urijah Faber always doing what he wants to do, you have so many guys. It is a division of shark tanks. They are talented, they are fast, they are strong, and I am delighted to return to the top and recover my title. Everyone come. “