More than a few folks weren’t really on board with the UFC tapping Cody Garbrandt for an immediate rematch with TJ Dillashaw, and the champ seems to believe it’s because the promotion favored “No Love”.
After Dillashaw finished Garbrandt last November to reclaim the 135 title, much of the talk was about him fighting Demetrious Johnson next. Dana White was down, as was Dillashaw, lots of fans, and eventually Johnson, but the fight didn’t come together.
Then it was announced that Garbrandt was going to face Dillashaw again at UFC 227. The decision caught some by surprise, since Garbrandt hadn’t fought since their first bout, and that fight marked the first time “No Love” had competed since he took the title from Dominick Cruz. Proponents of the fight, however, pointed to the fact that Garbrandt was dealing with back issues for much of 2017.
Well, fast forward to today, and Dillashaw is coming off a second, stoppage win over his former teammate. Since the quick and violent fight, Dillashaw appeared on Brenda Schaub’s “Below the Belt” podcast, and the champ had this to say about the UFC and Garbrandt (quote via MMA Fighting):
“We agreed to [a fight with Demetrious Johnson] but then he had to get shoulder surgery and so the UFC was like, ‘We don’t know how long he’s gonna be out, we want you to fight Cody,’” Dillashaw said . “I’m still waiting for a phone call right now from my manager saying, ‘Man, the UFC wants you to fight Cody again. They think it was a fluke.’ [Laughs]. You know what I mean?
“I’m just kidding. The UFC’s put so much money and time into that kid, they loved him. They were hard for that kid. They wanted to pump him up. Even the Embeddeds coming up to this fight – I’m the world f**king champion and it’s about him! Dude, it’s f**king ridiculous. I’m just waiting for this phone call saying, ‘They want you to fight Cody again.’ Sweet! Pay me some more money, I’ll knock his ass out again.”
Was the UFC brass hoping Garbrandt would win back the belt? It’s possible. It wasn’t that long ago when Garbrandt was being hailed as the next big star for the promotion, and Dillashaw wasn’t that far removed from a loss to Cruz.
Now it will be interesting to see what comes next for Dillashaw. If he can defeat Cruz, then his claim as the best bantamweight ever will certainly be strengthened. The only other men to date to defeat Dillashaw are John Dodson and Raphael Assuncao. Dillashaw avenged his loss to Assuncao in 2016. A bout with Marlon Moraes could also materialize.