Things are certainly heating up at bantamweight again as contenders emerge from the woodwork to vie for a shot at the vacant 135-pound title. Of course, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has apparently already promised that title to the winner of a Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo fight. But that match up is so ridiculous in the eyes of many that Cody Garbrandt is still holding out hope that he’ll get subbed in. And boy, if the bout agreement ain’t signed, his second round icing of Raphael Assuncao sure would make a compelling case for slotting him in.
“I heard that they’re going to ‘Fight Island’ and there’s only one name that I want to fight on ‘Fight Island’ and that’s Petr Yan,” Garbrandt said at the post-fight press conference. “So Dana ... I’m healthy, I’m ready, I want this strap back, I want this world championship back. It’s vacant for a reason and that’s my destiny to get it back. So I’ll go through whoever they need me to go through, but it’s inevitable that it’s mine.”
And if he can’t slide into that title fight?
“Let’s do a tournament, let’s do a bantamweight tournament,” Cody suggested. “Let’s get us in there. Let’s go to ‘Fight Island’ for a few months, get quarantined out there and bring our coaches, enough Trifecta food to eat — a little plug there. And let’s go to war. Let’s get this battle, this tournament, and let’s see who the real champion is. Let’s go back to the old school days.”
As for how his big knockout win in the last second of round two came about, Garbrandt gave full credit to his new team headed by Mark Henry (while still shouting out his training partners at Team Alpha Male).
“Coach Mark and my other coaches were saying ‘Hey, the inside shots, a lot of your knockouts come from the inside shots.’” Garbrandt said. “So a little dip and ... that’s what we worked on all camp, getting back to my old self, not being in front of someone. I got the speed, I got the power, I got the vision. I don’t need to stand in front of these guys and brawl to put on a show. I can pick em apart just like that. I stayed calm, I waited for Assuncao to open up, do level changes, do what I needed to do in our gameplan with my coaches to get that victory. And it feels so good to be so in sync with the coaches and finally get that victory over a tough adversary.”
With his three loss slump now snapped, “No Love” was finally able to admit how hard it was to bounce back from the adversity he’d experienced over the last two years.
“There’s so many people in this life that get knocked down and they stay down,” he said. “They don’t get up. I was on freaking top of the world. I was 25 years old, world champion, defeated one of the greatest bantamweights in the world. On a three-fight skid. You know how hard it was to get back up and do that?”
“No matter how many times you fail at life you gotta pick yourself up and keep marching forward,” he continued. “So I just want everyone to be motivated by what I was able to do. And that’s what I hope to do with the rest of my career, no matter how many times I win or lose or how many titles I win, at the end of the day it’s never give up. No matter what you’re going through in life. It’s a hard world, it’s not a fair world, and it’s a crazy world that we live in, you just gotta keep a goal, keep driven, and keep your desire to be the best.”