Cody Garbrandt earned the biggest victory of his career Sunday at UFC Fight Night 88, but he's still gunning for more.
After knocking out the formerly undefeated Thomas Almeida inside one round in the night's main event, Garbrandt put the MMA universe on notice, establishing himself as a legitimate threat – no longer just a hot prospect – in the bantamweight division.
Now, Garbrandt – who was unranked heading into his bout opposite the No. 7 Almeida – wants some respect in the rankings.
"First off, I deserve some respect, that's going out there, we're talking about a 21-0 guy who just ran through everybody, and I knocked him out in under three minutes, so let me get at least in the top 10," Garbrandt said in the post-fight press conference. "Let me get these guys that I want to fight, these guys that are high-caliber. The higher the opponent for me, the more that I shine."
A top-10 ranking isn't all Garbrandt wants moving forward. An Ohio native, Garbrandt eyes the Sept. 10 UFC 203 card in Cleveland with particular interest.
"UFC 203, Stipe Miocic is defending his belt in Cleveland, Ohio, that's where I spent a lot of my amateur career and boxing, it's an hour and 20 minutes from my hometown," Garbrandt said. "I would like to dance with someone there in the Quicken Loans Arena. Whoever it is, [whoever] the UFC wants to give me, I'm more than ready for them.
"Hopefully the Cavs [the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers] get that Finals win. We got Stipe winning the title, the Cavs, going back there in September, it's going to be rock-and-roll for sure."