LAS VEGAS -- Where in the world is Cody Garbrandt?
The former UFC bantamweight champion vanished from social media for more than a month after his first-round TKO loss to rival T.J. Dillashaw in the main event of UFC 227 in Los Angeles, his second loss to Dillashaw in less than a year.
Garbrandt’s silence led to plenty of online speculation about his state of mind and his future career direction. But his trainer, UFC Hall of Famer and Team Alpha Male founder Urijah Faber, said not to worry.
“Cody is enjoying being a family man right now,” Faber told MMA Fighting in an interview on Monday. “He was in the gym the other day and he was in good spirits. I know he’s been working out still.”
Twitter, of course, can be quite a vicious place, and the former WEC featherweight champion believes that Garbrandt simply needed to create a little space for himself to get away from the onslaught of negativity.
“This is a mean world, and everyone likes to jump in and kick people when they’re down,” said Faber, who was in town for a media day promoting the Oct. 5 Quintet grappling event. “Cody is someone who wears his heart on his sleeve, there’s no pretenses with him. I don’t know if that has something to do with it, if it was negativity he was paying attention to.”
For his part, Faber knows what it was like to be on the receiving end of jealousy, both from fighters who resent his promotional push as the top star of the WEC, and then from fans who complained when he got title opportunities that others didn’t. Faber said the key is simply tuning things out and staying focused.
“I myself, I get things all the time where people say ‘hey, did you see so and so said this, so and so said that?” Faber said. “I do my best to put the blinders on, and its funny, because the person with the microphone gets to dictate the storyline and right now it’s I had my time to be the guy with the microphone, and now it’s other people’s time. So you can’t worry about other people’s interpretations of things and whatnot.“
Faber also knows what it’s like to dust himself off and get back in the game. After losing two title fights a year apart, he had an impressive run in 2013, winning four fights, to earn a shot at then-bantamweight champ Renan Barao. After losing that bout, he then won his next three bantamweight bouts to earn a shot at then-champ Dominick Cruz.
Garbrandt, likewise, needs to figure out his path forward after twice losing to Dillashaw, and Faber says when the time comes, he’s ready to lend his perspective.
“I spent some time with Cody directly after the fight,” Faber said. “And I wasn’t necessarily the one that was in the corner for him for that fight, I’ve got some great perspectives for him, I said I’ve been in this a real long time I’ve got some good perspective for you, so, he seems open to that, we’re going to have a conversation about his path forward yet but it just hasn’t happened yet.”
Garbrandt finally posted to his Twitter and Instagram pages on Monday, linking to a podcast appearance and ending a six-week hiatus. That seems to underscore Faber’s belief that Garbrandt is coming back around.
“Cody’s doing really well, he sent me an incredible video of his baby watching TV and he’s in good spirits,” Faber said. “He’s 27 years old and he had a moment where he needs to figure out, what’s my motivation, what’s my dedication, and that’s that.“