Cody Garbrandt wants his fight against Deiveson Figueiredo to happen soon.
Garbrandt, who was scheduled to challenge Figueiredo for the flyweight title at UFC 255 in November, was pulled from the fight after suffering what was then believed to be a torn bicep. Garbrandt has since established on social media that he actually suffered a torn vein in his bicep, which was caused by a blood clot due to his COVID-19 diagnosis.
The former UFC bantamweight champion is still affected with a litany of lingering issues since he tested positive for COVID-19 in August, dealing with vertigo, pneumonia and mental fog. However, he is recovering day-by-day and expects to make his return to the Octagon opposite UFC flyweight champion Figueiredo in March 2021.
The time away has given Garbrandt ample amount of time to study Figueiredo, using his most recent title defense against Alex Perez at the aforementioned UFC 255 as a new source of information. Figueiredo made quick work of Perez, snatching up a guillotine choke inside of two minutes into the first round.
For Garbrandt, he is confident in his ability to handle Figueiredo wherever the fight goes and plans on pitching a shutout like he did in his title-winning performance against former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz at UFC 207 in 2016.
“I think my jiu-jitsu skills are far more superior in a lot of ways,” Garbrandt told Brett Okamoto of ESPN. “I just don’t have to use them. If the fight presents where it has to go to the ground, let’s go. I wrestle. This dude can’t take me down. He can’t take me down. He can’t out-strike me. He’s flat-footed. These guys stand in front of him and that’s where he bombs on them. I move too much. I’m too quick in and out. A lot of these fighters, too, they don’t know how to fight going backwards. They’re only pressure fighters.
“My game plan or how I look at it is how I fought Dominick Cruz. Now, he’s no Dominick Cruz. He is flat-footed. Dominick moves a lot. He’s very unorthodox, throws punches and kicks at weird ass angles, so you always have to be up and I’ve corrected a lot of my stuff. I had to learn the hard way.”
Garbrandt is referring to the trio of losses he suffered almost a year after becoming champion. Between 2017 and 2019, Garbrandt was knocked out in all three of his appearances against the likes of TJ Dillashaw and Pedro Munhoz, with the Dillashaw losses carrying far more weight considering they were embroiled in quite the personal battle stemming from a highly publicized team split from Team Alpha Male.
He returned to both the cage and the win column in 2020 after knocking out Raphael Assuncao at UFC 250, which was a performance that showcased a more controlled but still dangerous Garbrandt. This new version of Garbrandt is what he sees leading him to victory against Figueiredo whenever the fight happens.
“He’s gonna bring out the best in me, and I feel like I’m gonna bring out the best in him,” said Garbrandt. “I just feel like I’m the far superior fighter. I have a bigger fight IQ, I’ve learned from my mistakes. He’s only had one loss; I’ve had three at the top, and there’s just variables. I’ve been five rounds with one of the best fighters in the world to do it. I’ve been in those big grudge matches, I’ve been in those hyped-up fights, and I know how to control my emotions better.”
As far as the next fight for Figueiredo, Garbrandt does not seem to think too much of it. Figueiredo is going for his second title defense this year against Brandon Moreno at UFC 256 and Garbrandt sees the fight resulting in yet another win for the champion before he gets his shot.
“I feel like he’s going to run over that kid,” said Garbrandt. “That’s another lamb being brought into the slaughterhouse, and that’s fine. Like I said, let him build up that hype, let him build that, ‘holy s**t, this kid is the real deal,’ until you bring the real deal into the fight. There will be no backing down from me. I’m excited for the fight.”