For someone who claimed he had "no clue" who Cody Garbrandt was as recently as two months ago, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz, is seemingly making up for lost time these last few weeks. That's because Cruz and Garbrandt have been at each others' throats on social media, which nearly came to a head backstage recently at UFC 199 after Cruz defeated Garbrandt's mentor, Urijah Faber, for a second time.
Their new-found rivalry is showing no signs of slowing down soon.
"He’s a Team Alpha Male guy," Cruz explained to TMZ.com. "Those guys — I don’t know if they have a picture of me up in their gym, and part of being at that gym you have to hate Dominick Cruz. I have paid those guys so much money. They have made more money off of losing to me than win bonuses in their entire team together. He’s a little lost — he has been punched in his head a lot."
Garbrandt, 25, is undefeated (9-0) in professional mixed martial arts (MMA), coming off the biggest win of his career to date, a first round knockout of the previously unbeaten Brazilian thrasher, Thomas Almeida, at UFC Fight Night 88. "No Love" didn't take much damage in that bout, but perhaps Cruz is somehow aware of the epic brawls Garbrandt had to endure at the hands of his older brother.
Regardless, Cruz remains unimpressed with his recent rise, comparing him to a former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star who has yet to make his seemingly unpopular Octagon debut.
"He’s really -- and no disrespect because C.M. Punk is a very established businessman -- but Cody Garbrandt is the C.M. Punk of the [Bantamweight] division," Cruz said. "He’s got a whole lot of talk, a whole lot of hype, because of the Urijah Faber hype behind him. And he's going to need them because he can’t get the push on his own. He’s got to latch onto the coattails of his daddy, Urijah Faber, and I beat him up, so now I guess that make me his daddy."
Garbrandt is slated to take on Takeya Mizugaki this weekend (Sat., Aug. 20, 2016) at UFC 202 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 135-pound scrap will be showcased on FOX Sports 1, perhaps the promotion's attempt to get its No. 8 ranked contender a nice dose of exposure to leverage for an upcoming showdown with "Dominator."
Unless, of course, a higher-ranked -- albeit lower profile -- contender gets the next crack at Cruz.