In the co-main event of UFC 207, UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz stepped into the Octagon with undefeated Team Alpha Male prospect Cody Garbrandt for a highly anticipated grudge match.
The fight saw both men send verbal jabs back and forth over the course of several months, and even almost come to blows backstage at UFC 205, where UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier was forced to intervene and separate the men so a physical altercation didn’t ensue. Ultimately, when the pair stepped into the Octagon, it was Garbrandt who emerged victorious, leaving fight fans stunned as he out-struck Cruz over the course of the 5-round affair, dropping ‘The Dominator’ several times throughout the fight.
While several members of the MMA community, including striking guru Duane Ludwig, thought Cruz looked ‘off’ in the fight, Cruz has remained silent on whether or not there was an injury he had been keeping a secret, explaining on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience that the only way to move forward from a loss, is to fully accept it without making excuses for it.
While Cruz has certainly offered no excuses as to why he lost the fight, he was extremely willing to step aside and allow TJ Dillashaw to have the next bantamweight title shot. While Cruz’ comments at the post-fight press conference regarding Dillashaw getting the next title shot took many fans by surprise, Cody Garbrandt revealed in an interview with MMAJunkie that Cruz actually turned down a Cody Garbrandt rematch.
“He turned it down. He said he’d wait.”
This could likely explain why Garbrandt and Dillashaw are currently in the midst of filming the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, which will lead to the two men fighting for Garbrandt’s title after the season finishes airing.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/25/2017.