Cody ‘No Love' Garbrandt's quest of moving down to the Flyweight division and finding an easier path to become the UFC champion in a new division was halted by Kai Kara France, the CKB fighter and an established contender in the Flyweight division.
Cody Garbrandt was viewed as an exciting young prospect from team Alpha Male back in the days. He certainly lived up to all that was said about him by his team, the fans, and the media when he dethroned and solved the puzzled that is Dominic Cruz. His performance against Dominic Cruz exceeded the expectations of everybody. It felt like a long-reigning champion and a star was born that night.
Since then, Cody had lost 4 out of 5 fights after that in the bantamweight division, three of them where he got knocked out. The guy who got over the Dominic Cruz looked like a one-hit-wonder. His losses were to a high-level competition but the way he lost these fights raised the question of whether his chin could take these shots from the bantamweight fighters.
Garbrandt looked for a change in order to stay relevant in the UFC and to get into the title contention easily. Cody always had the speed advantage with his hands and power to knock out anybody, and he was never cutting too much weight. So, he decided to move down to the Flyweight division assuming the power factor would diminish at Flyweight.
Cody was being discussed to fight for the Flyweight title in his debut fight in the division. Luckily for the rest of the guys in the division, the fight did not materialize due to Garbrandt getting the covid. Brandon Moreno the Flyweight champion did not want to wait, so after Alexandre Pantoja could not take the fight, Brandon Moreno was booked in the trilogy fight against Deiveson Figueiredo early next year.
Cody Garbrandt was booked to fight CKB fighter Kai Kara France who was just coming from a first-round KO victory in his previous bout. In the meanwhile, Cody was going back and forth with the self-proclaimed unranked champ Sean O'Malley. At the UFC 269 press conference, they were taking jabs at each other, it would have appeared to someone who does not follow the sport that they are fighting the next Saturday. Even Kai Kara France said he felt Cody was overlooking him and he will pay for that. Kai was focused on the task at hand and knocked out Cody Garbrandt in the first round and asked for the title fight for his next outing.
Kai Kara France might not get the title shot next but his next fight would definitely be at least a title eliminator/number one contender fight. He has lost to the current champion before, he also has a loss against Brandon Royval. Alexandre Pantoja or Askar Askarov are two fighters who might be next or they might fight each other to see who is next for the Flyweight title after the trilogy is settled between Brandon Moreno and Deivison Figueiredo.
As for Cody Garbrandt going down in weight did not go as planned but he did look decent on the scale, suggesting that the weight cut was not depleting his performance. He looked bigger inside the octagon compared to Kai Kara France. Garbrandt has age on his side, he could try to fight lesser competition and build back himself whether it be at Flyweight or Bantamweight. But the problem here would be that he was a UFC champion and he was paid to fight certain types of fights and bring the money in for what he was paid. He can't fight some unranked guy and get paid the same as he is now. This has been the working model of UFC that once you go to the top, you either win and stay there or you get cut if you lose as Cody have lost. You go to some other promotion to prove yourself worthy again so they can bring you back to where they can put you in a similar kind of fight and pay you what you were paid before or even more. UFC does not like to build a fighter once they are going down from the top of the mountain. They would rather invest in new blood which is how the business work.
Cody Garbrandt is still only 30 years old and has an immense amount of potential to get back on track in either division but he has to do that methodically picking the right fights stylistically, changing camps probably would help, and staying in the moment and not looking too far ahead. Garbrandt needs to take some time off and get back with a clearer mindset in whatever division he decides. The fans still love him and want to see him succeed and get that belt again.
Do you guys think Cody can achieve the success he had before? Which division should he fight next? Who should he fight next? If he gets released which promotion, should he fight? Should he try boxing? Any opinion or question you would like to ask about this topic, feel free to comment below.