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Morning Report: Cody Garbrandt serious about dropping to 125, teases title fight this year

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Cody Garbrandt
Cody Garbrandt
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Earlier this summer, Cody Garbrandt stole the show at UFC 250, turning in a Knockout of the Year contender against longtime bantamweight contender Raphael Assuncao. Now, “No Love” is trying to do it again 125 pounds.

The UFC’s flyweight division has been in a state of turmoil this year, with champion Henry Cejudo instead competing at bantamweight and then retiring from the sport unexpectedly. With Cejudo out, the UFC set up a fight for the vacant title between Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo. In their first encounter, Figueiredo won but missed weight, leaving the title vacant. The UFC rebooked the matchup and the second time was the charm, with Figueiredo once again defeating Benavidez, this time to claim the flyweight title.

Immediately after the flyweight title fight, rumors began circulating that Garbrandt was interested in challenging Figueiredo, and speaking with ESPN recently, the former bantamweight champion confirmed that his team has been in discussion with UFC President Dana White about making that happen.

“As far as I know, I don’t have a contract in hand,” Garbrandt said, teasing that he would be the first challenger for Figueiredo’s title. “We’re trying to wait on that with Ali (Abdelaziz, Garbrandt’s manager) and Dana and Sean (Shelby, UFC matchmaker) and Mick (Maynard, UFC matchmaker). I’ve actually been vocal about going to 125 for quite some time now. We spoke about it in the past before the Assuncao fight and I feel like it’s great. I’m able to do it now, early still in my career. I just turned 29. I’m able to go to 125, challenge and win that title there, and then go back up to 135 pounds and compete with the best of them there.

“I feel like it’s a time in my life and my career where it’s very pivotal for me to make this transition into flyweight and bantamweight. I don’t think a lot of the flyweight guys could come up to bantamweight and compete at the elite level that I am, so I’m very blessed I’m able to do that. So yeah, hopefully I get this shot against Figueroa, Figueiredo - whatever his name is. Great guy. I think that he’s a tough, tough competitor, I just think that I’m way more skillful than him and excited for the challenge at task. Hopefully we’ll get it done and I can get in the octagon before this year’s up again.”

Garbrandt won the UFC bantamweight title in 2016 and even back then was lobbying to drop down to 125 to chase a second title. Despite having spent his entire career compete at 135 pounds, “No Love” says that he actually does not cut much weight and so a drop down to flyweight would be easy for him.

“I talked to Dana when he was on ‘Fight Island,’” Gabrandt said. “He said he’ll work on it and he was speaking with Ali and my coach Mark Henry, my coaches out here in Sacramento, so that’s kind of the plan. Right now, I just got done working out and I’m 145 pounds. Twenty pounds over – that’s very doable. I don’t cut weight until 135 pounds. I watch my weight the week of the fight and a lot of these guys are cutting to flyweight walking around this weight. So I can be very dangerous there and at 135 pounds.”

The timing couldn’t be better for Garbrandt. The bantamweight division is currently backlogged with viable top contenders for newly crowned champion Petr Yan, meanwhile no one really jumps out at 125. Garbrandt, with his big name and coming off a electric win, could slot nicely in to that top contender spot, which is likely why earlier this week Dana White said “anything is possible” when asked about Garbrandt getting the next flyweight title shot.

But just because it seems like he has the inside track at flyweight, don’t count Garbrandt out at bantamweight just yet. The former champion made it clear that he’s interested in competing in both divisions moving forward, and establishing a legacy as one of the all time greats.

“Like I said, I’d love to be able go snatch the 125 pound belt and then go and fight Petr Yan if he’s the champion after I grab this belt in November.,” Garbrandt said. “. . . Obviously, if you’re able to become a two division world champion - not many are world champions in their life or their career. I have the opportunity to do this. I’m chasing greatness. I’m on a mission. I’ve had the world championship tied around my waist before, I know what that feeling is, and I know I’m capable of doing it again at both weight classes.”


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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Ryan Bader (27-5, 1 NC) vs. Vadim Nemkov (12-2); Bellator 244, Aug. 21.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

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858 votes total Vote Now

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