As the days tick away in the build-up to next weekend’s UFC 217 event, it’s become clear that whilst GSP vs Bisping is the official main event in New York, the people’s main event will forever be the Bantamweight Championship clash between former teammates Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw.
The two have been somewhat joined at the hip for well over a year now, with their combined victories back at UFC 207 last December setting them on a collision course for an eventual title bout. Whilst it’s certainly taken longer than anyone would’ve expected, many fans are just happy that they’ll finally get to see these former friends throw down at Madison Square Garden.
“It humbles you to have Dana White and the UFC believe in you. I go out there and perform each and every fight like I did against Dominick Cruz, and I’m just getting comfortable. I’m just getting started.”
During the first of two conference calls for the event, we spoke to the champ himself Cody Garbrandt, who continues to be one of MMA’s brightest stars both in the present day and for the years to come.
The 11-0 superstar is set to walk into the octagon for the first time since sustaining a serious back injury earlier this year, which postponed his planned summer fight with Dillashaw. Despite that, things only seem to have intensified between the rivals and they appear to have picked up right where they left off on The Ultimate Fighter.
— Verdict (@VerdictMMA) October 25, 2017
As opposite coaches, the two men were in each other’s faces from the get-go, with numerous skirmishes sending the world of MMA into a frenzy. Given TJ’s past alliance with Team Alpha Male, where Cody resides, it’s hardly surprising to see that things have gotten to this point.
Cody has the potential to be a money making machine for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and everyone within the company, from top to bottom, seems to agree. A victory over Dillashaw would rubber stamp his position atop the 135-pound division, with the winner of Cruz vs Rivera likely waiting in the wings for the next shot at the belt.
“I honestly always feel like TJ is going to use the hashtags ‘Chase The Gold’ and ‘Road Back To Gold’ and he’s gonna be using that for the rest of his career. So, we’ll see. He’s a competitor, and I feel like he won’t give up until he tries again to get the gold, but he’ll have to keep hashtagging for his whole career so long as I’m in the same division.”
Of course, a victory over TJ will be easier said than done, especially given that his only loss in his last seven fights came courtesy of a controversial split decision loss to the aforementioned Dominick Cruz.
Garbrandt has all of the skills necessary to carve out a legendary career for himself in the UFC, and there’s an argument to be made that this will be his biggest test of all. Sure, the victory over Dominick was impressive, but we all know that holding onto the belt after you’ve managed to capture it is the most difficult challenge of all.