The road back to recovery has been difficult for UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt. After defeating Dominick Cruz at UFC 207 late last year to claim the 135-pound crown, “No Love” was scheduled to defend his title opposite nemesis T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 213 after opposing coaching stints on The Ultimate Fighter. Unfortunately, Garbrandt suffered a painful back injury this past May and was eventually removed from his bout with “Killashaw.”
Garbrandt has been getting treatment ever since and is now on the fast track back to the Octagon. While nothing is set in stone, the undefeated 26-year-old is hoping to land on the biggest card of 2017.
“I want MSG,” Garbrandt wrote in a text message to MMA Fighting.
Of course, Garbrandt is referring to UFC 217 set to take place on Nov. 4 from inside Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. That event is already being headlined by a middleweight title fight between champion Michael Bisping and former welterweight king Georges St-Pierre, but will need a little more fire power up and down the card if it’s going to rival the promotion’s initial bob for the “Big Apple” back at UFC 205.
“Feeling a lot better,” Garbrandt wrote via text message. “Hardly doing MMA. It’s been all rehab and strength and conditioning. I can’t wait to get back.”
Garbrandt’s most likely opponent for his return is Dillashaw, who has handily defeated John Lineker and Raphael Assuncao since losing his bantamweight title to Cruz back at UFC Fight Night 81. Dillashaw was briefly linked to a flyweight title fight opposite pound-for-pound beast Demetrious Johnson, but that quickly died down.
As of now, Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw is the only fight to make at 135 pounds and a sensational co-main event option for UFC 217.