Brian Kelleher confident he can bring out the “old” Cody Garbrandt in a “firefight” at UFC 296: “He’s an emotional guy”

By Cole Shelton - December 13, 2023

Brian Kelleher is relieved to finally make the walk to the Octagon again.

Brian Kelleher

Kelleher hasn’t fought since June of 2022 when he suffered a submission loss to Mario Bautista. He was supposed to face Journey Newson in April of this year, but was removed from the scrap on fight week as he had a neck issue that needed to be fixed.

Brian Kelleher ended up having surgery and during that time, he wasn’t sure if he would get another fight in the UFC.

“It was really tough, honestly. When they pulled my fight against Journey Newson, I was already there cutting weight, ready to fight. It came out of nowhere,” Kelleher said on Just Scrap Radio on “But, in the end, I look at it as a blessing for my health and them looking out for my safety. I went through with the surgery only if I was going to continue my career.

“To be honest, I wouldn’t have done it yet if I was going to call an end, which I wasn’t ready to do. I want to finish my career with the UFC and I wasn’t sure if they were on board with having me back until after I was done with the surgery. It was all just, man, I’m going to do this and keep my faith up and see if things work out,” Kelleher continued.

Once Brian Kelleher was cleared to return, he was offered Cody Garbrandt at UFC 296, which he immediately accepted. He knows fighting a former champion is a big deal and can do wonders for his career if he gets the win.

Along with that, Kelleher believes he has that style that can bring out the old wild Garbrandt and make this a firefight.

“Cody is always going to be the old Cody, if you hit him good, he’s going to get emotional and try and swing at you hard,” Kelleher said. “I’m expecting a fast, good boxer, with good footwork, and the best Cody that there is… You can have a game plan but when you get in there in the firefight, it’s kind of hard to think. You are trying to win, you are getting hit and you are trying to hit back. It’s kill-or-be-killed. It’s who he is, it’s his DNA, he’s an emotional guy, he has that fire in him if things are going crazy in the fight, he gets crazier, so I expect that Cody.”

With Kelleher expecting it to be a firefight against Cody Garbrandt at UFC 296, he’s confident that can lead to a stoppage win for him.

He knows if he can get Garbrandt into an emotional fight, he can KO the former champ, or force him into a bad shot which leads to a submission win.

“I see a finish for myself, I see myself touching him on the chin and wobbling as we have seen in the past. Then, getting that respect and just pouncing on him. Maybe he shoots in for a takedown and I latch onto a choke or whatnot, but I’m always going to be looking for the finish. This fight means everything to me, so I’m going to be leaving everything in there,” Kelleher said.

If Brian Kelleher does finish Cody Garbrandt at UFC 296, he knows it would be the biggest win of his career and would propel him forward.

“Honestly, I look at this as what better opportunity to erase everything that has ever happened and fight a former world champ, big name, get a big win, and start from scratch again. Just really propel myself into contender talks, top-15 talks. At my age it’s perfect for me, if I beat a guy like this I can skyrocket my career back to where I wanted to be in the first place. Cody is a great opponent, and he’s a huge name. I didn’t expect this name to come across the table, to be honest with you. It’s all or nothing,” Kelleher concluded.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


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