At UFC 207, UFC bantamweight kingpin Dominick Cruz stepped into the Octagon with Cody Garbrandt for a highly anticipated grudge match. The pair had traded barbs in numerous interviews throughout the buildup of the fight, and were nearly involved in an altercation backstage at another event, which was fortunately broken up by UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
When the pair stepped into the Octagon, many expected Cruz’ experience to be the difference maker, however Garbrandt showed excellent composure as he managed to out-strike the champ, while avoiding Cruz’ strikes. In addition, Garbrandt even managed to drop the champ on numerous occasions, leaving fight fans stunned at his masterful performance.
Following the fight, Cruz allowed TJ Dillashaw to have the next bantamweight title shot, opting to sit on the sidelines while Dillashaw and Garbrandt settled their longstanding beef stemming from Dillashaw’s departure from Team Alpha Male.
Now, Alliance MMA head coach Eric Del Fierro says that Cruz is currently still training while letting his body heal, and is targeting “whomever’s got the belt” as his next fight.
He spoke to MMAJunkie:
“Dominick is good. You guys have seen him around – he stays positive, he does his thing. Right now, he’s just taking care of his body. He’s training – not 100 percent, full time – but he’s here training and just kind of letting his body heal.
“With that plantar fasciitis, that seems to be the one of the most complicated injuries he’s ever had, and I say that because anybody that’s had that injury, or that condition, it just doesn’t go away. And the only thing that really helps it is rest.”
While Garbrandt and Dillashaw are currently filming The Ultimate Fighter, with no bout date officially set, Fierro weighed-in on that fight, saying:
“I think Cody’s slick,” Del Fierro said. “He’s slick, and I think what he showed is a lot of composure. I think he’s got a lot more that he hasn’t shown. Rematches are always difficult, and teammates fighting teammates is a whole different level of mental battle, so the question is who can put it aside more than the other and I would kind of give that edge to Cody – but I don’t know.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/23/2017.