Cody Garbrandt was supposed to defend his title for the first time against T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 213, but a back injury on the champion led to the scrapping of the supposed headliner fight for the July 8th card in Las Vegas.
The awaited bantamweight title fight between the two former teammates has now been rescheduled for UFC 217 on November 4th in New York City. If some unforeseen event happens once again, and one of the two men fall out of the fight, former champion Dominick Cruz says he is ready to step in.
“I’m always training. I’ve been training this whole time,” Cruz said on a recent episode of UFC Unfiltered (transcript via MMA Mania). “For me the title shot is important. I’ve earned that shot, I held the belt longer than anyone in this division and I help build the division.”
“I gave Cody that shot when I could’ve fought T.J. again. I have been doing this to build the division. I brought another guy up and fought him for the title because I wanted another guy in the mix. We needed that for the division. If any one of these guys gets hurt I would like to slide in and challenge for the title, 100-percent.”
Cruz has fought both guys already, holding a win over Dillashaw, and incurring his first loss in nine years against Garbrandt. So if given the choice of who he wants to win and possibly face next, he is picking the latter.
“I would prefer Cody to win, just because I’d like to fight him in a rematch for the belt. I think it would be a really sick fight and it would be good for me.”
UFC 217 will take place at Madison Square Garden.