Many fans don’t know it, but former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Gabrandt has come back from a knockout loss before.
Although Garbrandt suffered the first professional KO loss of his career at UFC 217, losing the bantamweight title to ex-teammate T.J. Dillashaw in the co-main event, ‘No Love’ was brutally knocked out in his final amateur bout in 2012, which only spurred him on to win eleven straight pro fights and become one of the youngest champions on the UFC roster.
Garbrandt thanked Dillashaw for the humbling loss at UFC 217 and told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he will only come back stronger at UFC 227, where he will meet Dillashaw in a headlining championship rematch at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“That’s what made me a world champion,” Garbrandt said of his KO loss on the amateur circuit, per MMA Fighting’s Alexander K. Lee. “That’s why I was so — after T.J., hats off to T.J., congrats to you. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful that I was able to win the world title at a young age, I’m thankful that I was able to lose it at a young age. Because I was already good before that and this is what’s going to make me great. I’ve always learned so much from my losses.
“I lost an amateur fight where it was supposed to be my last amateur fight before going pro and people were like, ‘Oh, you think you’re going to make this? You just got knocked out as an amateur?’ And I went on to win 13 fights straight and become a world champion, the best in the world. So that’s why I’m so motivated now. I just took it all in, walking out of the Octagon on November 4th [at UFC 217]. Like, alright, we’re on this, I knew 100 percent we’d get this shot again. Didn’t care how long it had to take me.”
Although Dillashaw and Garbrandt shook each other’s hands after their high-octane scrap at UFC 217, there is evidently still some bad blood between the two bantamweights.
Garbrandt called Dillashaw a ‘coward’ for screaming in his face during his adrenaline-fueled post-fight celebration.
“I was walking out of the Octagon, I remember saying, ‘I’m going to remember everything about this,’” Garbrandt said. “Everything about this walk back, without my belt. T.J. getting in my face after I was knocked out. I know damn well that dude would never, ever do that if there wasn’t that referee in there. Never, ever.
“He’s a coward. That’s it. He wanted to act like that, he’s not a real champion. Getting in my face like that, flexing on my coaches, I’m going to remember all that and that’s what motivates me in training. So I’m going to get that one back for everybody.”
UFC 227: Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2 takes place later this year, August 4 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.