Back in November, in the co-main event of UFC 217, Cody Garbrandt’s reign as UFC bantamweight champion came to an end, as he was knocked out by his arch-rival TJ Dillashaw.
While it was obviously difficult for Garbrandt to swallow this loss to his nemesis Dillashaw, he says he’s thankful it happened, as he believes he’ll learn from it.
“That’s what made me a world champion,” Garbrandt said on The MMA Hour (transcribed by Alexander K. Lee for MMA Fighting). “Hats off to TJ, congrats to you. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful that I was able to win the world title at a young age, I’m thankful that I was able to lose it at a young age. Because I was already good before that, and this is what’s going to make me great. I’ve always learned so much from my losses.”
“I lost an amateur fight where it was supposed to be my last amateur fight before going pro and people were like, ‘Oh, you think you’re going to make this? You just got knocked out as an amateur?’ And I went on to win 13 fights straight and become a world champion, the best in the world. So that’s why I’m so motivated now. I just took it all in, walking out of the Octagon on November 4th [at UFC 217]. Like, alright, we’re on this, I knew 100 percent we’d get this shot again. [I] didn’t care how long it had to take me.”
While Garbrandt seems to have taken his title loss to Dillashaw in stride, he is still has some lingering issues with the current champ. He’s particularly unhappy with the way Dillashaw got in his face moments after the fight ended — something Garbrandt doesn’t believe would have happened if there wasn’t a referee nearby.
“I know damn well that dude would never, ever do that if there wasn’t that referee in there,” he said. “Never, ever.”
“He’s a coward,” he added. “That’s it. He wanted to act like that, he’s not a real champion. Getting in my face like that, flexing on my coaches, I’m going to remember all that and that’s what motivates me in training. So I’m going to get that one back for everybody.”
Who do you think comes out on top in Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw’s UFC 227 rematch?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/10/2018.