Cody Garbrandt knows how to push T.J. Dillashaw’s buttons.
Prior to ‘No Love’s’ bantamweight championship bout against Dominick Cruz at UFC 207, ex-teammate Dillashaw was furious that he wasn’t the one challenging ‘The Dominator’ for the title.
Instead, Dillashaw was pitted against the top-ranked John Lineker on the same card, while Garbrandt went on to make history by becoming the first man to beat Cruz under the UFC banner.
Dillashaw, who lost the 135 lbs title to Cruz last year, outclassed Lineker and cemented himself as the next No. 1 contender. But newly-crowned champ Garbrandt says he has bigger fish to fry and wants to challenge ‘legend’ Jose Aldo for the featherweight belt instead.
“Dude, I don’t want to even speak on Dillashaw,” Garbrandt told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour (h/t Chuck Mindenhall of MMA Fighting) He doesn’t even draw pay-per-view buys. It’s not even a fight that makes sense from that standpoint.
“But like I said, I got my eyes on Jose Aldo. I saw something that he wanted to fight me, so I’m ready to take down another legend. That’s why I got into this sport. I’m ready to build my legacy, and then to defend it. There’s going to be kids like me, that are teenagers, watching right now that want to whoop my ass. So I got to make sure that I keep improving and improving and doing my legacy. That’s why I jumped into the UFC and the fight game to do this, it’s to be the greatest. Lord willing, I’ll have longevity and have a lot of success.”
Aldo, who reigned as the UFC featherweight kingpin for five years, is in an interesting spot. ‘Scarface’ lost the title to Conor McGregor in 2015 but was recently reinstated as the official champion after the UFC decided to strip ‘The Notorious’ of the belt.
The Brazilian has angled for an interim lightweight championship bout against Khabib Nurmagmedov but is expected to face newly-minted interim 145 lbs champion Max Holloway early this year.
McGregor’s acquisition of the lightweight belt at UFC 205, which cemented the Irishman as the first fighter to hold two belts simultaneously, has spurred several other fighters to accomplish a similar feat.
As well as Aldo and Garbrandt, women’s bantamweight title holder Amanda Nunes, who demolished Ronda Rousey at UFC 207, also said she wants to hold another world title in 2017.
Garbrandt, a winner of eleven straight, earned scores of fans with his scintillating performance against Cruz last month. The 25-year-old has the style, image, and knockout power to perhaps negotiate terms for a featherweight title bout this year.