Dillashaw the competitor has a different opinion.
The UFC bantamweight champion, who defeated Garbrandt by second-round knockout at UFC 217 last November to begin his second title reign, doesn’t believe Garbrandt deserves an immediate rematch. But the matchmakers seems to think so, so the champ has his mind wrapped around the bout scheduled for UFC 227 on Aug. 4 at Staples Center in Los Angeles and the paycheck it will bring.
“I don’t think in any form does Cody deserve the rematch,” Dillashaw said on a recent episode of The MMA Hour. “But I’m happy to do it. The UFC obviously wants it. So I mean, if they want it, they’re going to pump this up. For whatever reason they want to put Cody in there. I think it’s a great fight for me. He doesn’t deserve it whatsoever on the sport side of it. But I’m a businessman and I’m going to go out there and put him away.”
Garbrandt, who won the title from Dominick Cruz at UFC 207, wasn’t able to successfully defend it, as he was finished by Dillashaw in their grudge match. That’s not usually the basis for an immediate redo, but Dillashaw also remembers how hard Garbrandt and his camp, Team Alpha Male, tried to get under his skin last time. And that’s enough to fire up the titleholder for another go at his rival.
“There’s still some built-up animosity, you know?” Dillashaw said. “It’s not going to just go away all of a sudden. You know he should be, he’s pushing for this title fight, he wants this, he wants that, but, in all reality, I mean, I don’t think he realizes how much is on the line. What’s he going to do after I knock him out two times in a row?”
If anything, Dillashaw believes Garbrandt and his crew should be thankful Dillashaw is granting them this opportunity.
“I think it is going to be a little bit different this time,” Dillashaw said. “He doesn’t have that much to say. What can he say? He just got knocked out, you know? The only thing he should be saying is ‘Thank you, T.J. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be at these press conferences. Thank you for giving me the chance to fight you again.’
“Because no, he doesn’t deserve it. It’s a completely different situation this time. He can’t be all big, bad, and tough. He just got knocked out. This is a little bit different. Yeah. I don’t think it is going to be as bad as it was last time. I don’t feel the team is going to be attacking me as much as well. You know? They looked really bad.”
Some have questioned whether the beef is as real as has been portrayed, given the duo was spotted on camera shaking hands after the UFC 25th Anniversary press conference in Brooklyn. But Dillashaw maintains he was as surprised as anyone when Garbrandt approached him.
“I was surprised by that, too,” Dillashaw said. “He came up and complimented me on one of the lines I threw out there at the press conference that was a good one and had him stumbling. ... It was like, alright, you got me there. Checkmate, whatever it may be.
“I’m not a fake one. I’m not going to go out there and fake anything. We’re not in cahoots, that’s for sure. I guess I caught him in his tracks or something this time. I don’t know. Maybe he’s trying to be a little more friendly this time. Last time he tried being big, bad, and tough and it really didn’t work out for himself, so, who knows, man?”
Either way, this won’t be Dillashaw’s first rodeo with a rematch. He’s 2-0 in return bouts, with a pair of victories over Renan Barao, and a UFC 200 win that avenged a previous loss to Raphael Assuncao. So it’s easy to understand why Dillashaw is confident going into this fight.
“Immediate rematches or rematches in general, I don’t know if they ever really do change,” Dillashaw said. “I see myself winning this fight even easier. Just like with the Barao situation, I went out there and won the second time even easier.”