Throughout the recent build-up for UFC 217, Cody Garbrandt has had two fighters on his mind: TJ Dillashaw and Demetrious Johnson. He’s not looking past his bantamweight title defense, but he’s been vocal about a ‘business move’ to challenge the dominant flyweight champ for awhile now. The lure of a huge fight and the chance to become a two-division champion is easy to understand, but Garbrandt went even further in a recent interview. Belt or not, Johnson is still the fight.
“My eyes are set on becoming a name that’s going to live on forever from the UFC and MMA. I’d like to go down and fight Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ [Johnson] after this fight. I’m not looking past [TJ Dillashaw]. I’m so happy for ‘Mighty Mouse’, him and his wife and family are amazing, he’s a great champion for kids to look up to, he’s the pound-for-pound best. No animosity but I can make [125 pounds], if he wants to come up to [135 pounds], it doesn’t matter. That’s a fight that I would like. That’s a fight that makes sense. There’s a lot of things for me to gain going down to 125. I’d be a two-weight world champion just like Conor McGregor. I can simultaneously defend both belts.”
— Verdict (@VerdictMMA) October 25, 2017
“Or we could do 130 [pounds]. He fought at 135, just to make it a super fight. No titles on the line, we go back to our weight classes win or lose. I’m up for whatever. That’s up to Dana White, Sean Shelby to make that decision. All eyes are on Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson after the great performance he just had. He has wiped out the 125-pound division. He’s the pound-for-pound best and I am the guy, I destroyed a guy [Dominick Cruz] who beat him in his last defeat. I know it would be a huge fight with me and Demetrious after the TJ fight.” — Cody Garbrandt speaking to the Fight Society podcast.
It seems like Cody Garbrandt is flexing his promoting skills leading up to his biggest fight yet and it’s impressive. He dismantled Dominick Cruz, the former bantamweight king and the last guy to beat Demetrious Johnson. Not only that, he’s willing to meet at a catchweight limbo in between both their divisions with no belt on the line. Even though these two champions meeting with both of their belts would be a spectacle, does a special fight like that even need a title? Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz sure didn’t.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/2/2017.