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Urijah Faber says Cody Garbrandt will ‘probably knock out’ T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 213

Cody Garbrandt
Cody Garbrandt
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

If anybody has the inside scoop on what will happen when current UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt takes on former champ T.J. Dillashaw, it’s Urijah Faber, the man who helped create and mentor both.

There’s a lot of lead-time for their UFC 213 bout in July, plenty of calendar left for the bad blood to fester. And with Dillashaw and Garbrandt coaching opposite each other on the upcoming The Ultimate Fighter 25 reality show, Faber becomes the foremost authority on each fighter’s propensities, even if he skews towards his current teammate Garbrandt over the estranged Dillashaw.

Giving his first prediction on the fight during Monday’s appearance on The MMA Hour, the California Kid said he likes Garbrandt’s power more than he does Dillashaw’s. And he thinks Garbrandt will land that big shot that will spell the end for his former protégé.

“I think it’ll probably be a knockout, just because Cody hits hard,” Faber said. “We’ve seen it in his fights, we’ve seen it in the room. He’s got a history. T.J.’s also a heavy hitter, but not like Cody. They’re going to be in a gun fight.”

Faber expects the fight to showcase both talents very well, and said he can foresee some back-and-forth before Garbrandt finds Dillashaw’s chin.

“I don’t think it’ll be that early — I don’t know when, you can’t predict that stuff,” he told Ariel Helwani. “But, I know it’s going to be a very tough fight. I’ve seen T.J. and some of his stuff, and he’s already freaking out like a wild man, as he tends to do. It’s going to be a competitive fight, and Cody’s going to get it.”

After losing his bantamweight title shot against Renan Barao at UFC 169 in 2014, Faber — ever the teammate, and a veteran in the spotlight — lobbied for Dillashaw to get the next title shot. Dillashaw did, and he made the most of it. In a fight he dominated from the opening horn, Dillashaw shocked just about everyone with his fifth-round TKO of Barao at UFC 173 to become the bantamweight champion. After defending the title against Joe Soto at UFC 177, he duplicated the feat at UFC on FOX 16 in 2015.

Meanwhile, his relationship with Faber deteriorated, and there was growing dissension in the ranks. Former Team Alpha Male coach Duane Ludwig left somewhat acrimoniously to open his own gym in Colorado, and Dillashaw — who was caught in the middle between him and Faber — opted to follow Ludwig to the Rocky Mountains.

Since then, Garbrandt — who had some legendary sparring sessions with Dillashaw when both trained at TAM — has been vocal about his displeasure with Dillashaw. Once Garbrandt won the title from Dominick Cruz at UFC 207 in December, the Dillashaw-Garbrandt fight has stood as a classic style fight with plenty manifest bad blood and plenty of back-story.

Faber, who retired from competing as a fighter in December, said he would help Garbrandt out leading into the fight. And when it’s all said and done, the “California Kid” unsurprisingly declared that the bantamweight title will find its way back to Sacramento.

“I’m going to play a large roll in general, as I have been and in the future with Cody and his training and everything else,” he said. “I mean, those guys have fought each other a bunch of times. I remember all sorts of times when these guys were going at each other in the gym.

“It’s going to be more of the same. It’s hard to take someone like Cody or someone like T.J. and do stuff that’s a whole lot different from a camp, because they already train like champions. They already approach every fight with the same intensity. So, we’ll be doing the best training in the world over here at Team Alpha Male, and bringing home that strap.”

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