Over the last few weeks, there’s been plenty of discussion as to who should get the next crack at Dominick Cruz’s UFC bantamweight title.
TJ Dillashaw, who surrendered the title to Cruz earlier this year, certainly has a strong case for the title shot. Jimmie Rivera, who recently scored a career-best win over long time contender Urijah Faber, is also in the running. Bryan Caraway, who recently ended the unbeaten streak of Aljamain sterling, is in the conversation. The same can be said of the winner of John Lineker and John Dodson’s looming bantamweight scrap.
Yet there is perhaps no contender with a better chance of securing the next bantamweight title shot than wickedly powerful 25-year-old Cody Garbrandt.
Garbrandt, who trains out of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California, has made his case with a rousing blend of savage stoppages and Cruz trash talk. In 2016, he’s scored first-round knockouts over Augusto Mendes, Thomas Almeida, and Takeya Mizugaki, and all the while, he’s taken every opportunity to make his disdain for the reigning champ known. Because Cruz hasn’t shied away from firing back, we’ve suddenly got the recipe for an exciting, bantamweight grudge match on our hands – and the UFC loves a good grudge match, because grudges sell fights.
As a result, there have recently been whispers that a Cruz vs. Garbrandt bout is in the works – possibly for UFC 207 on December 30. The first of these whispers came from reliable MMA news-breaker @TalkMMA on Twitter.
— #Dizz © (@TalkMMA) September 16, 2016
Late yesterday evening, we received even more reason to believe a Cruz vs. Garbrandt bout is in the works, as Garbrandt suggested he’d have the belt before 2017 in a response to a fan on Twitter. This, of course, means he’d have to fight for the belt in 2016.
I'll be the champ before 2017!! https://t.co/GfKxpfTifA
— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) September 21, 2016
While the news is not likely to go over well with Dillashaw – who has been open in his belief that Garbrandt hasn’t yet earned the shot – it seems as though a Cruz vs. Garbrandt title shot is very much in the works.
The big question, of course, is this: can the brick-fisted Garbrandt succeed where talents like Joseph Benavidez, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, Urijah Faber, and TJ Dillashaw have failed by unseating the dominant bantamweight champ? It appears we’ll have our answer soon.
Do you give Cody Garbrandt a chance against Dominick Cruz, or will the young fighter be stifled by the champ’s baffling elusiveness? Sound off, PENN nation!