After Garbrandt bombed out fellow bantamweight prospect Thomas Almeida in May, his rivalry with the champ Cruz, really started to ‘blossom’. The two were slinging verbal jabs at each other leading up to UFC 202, and now that “No Love” quickly put away Takeya Mizugaki at the event, there’s a ton of hype behind Cruz – Garbrandt.
“He knows I’m able to beat him and that’s a tough fight and he wants to get his shot. But he’s just trying to skip the line ultimately. He’s doing a smart job of it. He’s performing. He’s doing his job as well. He’s knocking these guys out but then he’s adding a little extra by talking some crap. He’s turning it into the WWE and creating this whole drama that people want to see…. It just doesn’t make sense how No. 8 can beat No. 11 and get a title shot and skip everyone.”
From a rankings perspective, really, there’s no way to argue with Dillashaw here. He is the #1 ranked contender, and is coming off a win over Raphael Assuncao, who had won seven straight prior to their UFC 200 bout. Further, Dillashaw’s loss to Cruz this past January was by split decision, so it’s not like he was decisively beaten by the champ.
But, fans love knockouts and they love trash talk, and Garbrandt has been providing them with both of those things in recent weeks. So, it will be really interesting to see where the UFC comes in on this. Will they go with the rankings? Or the buzz?