Cody Garbrandt sees a future at flyweight but is not about to leave bantamweight behind.
A year after announcing his move to the division, Garbrandt made his flyweight debut against Kai Kara-France at UFC 269 earlier this month. The result was not what the former UFC bantamweight champion had hoped for, as he suffered a first-round technical knockout loss to France. For many fans and pundits, the loss was in some part attributed to his decision to drop down in weight, but Garbrandt has rejected that notion.
During an appearance on his Rollin’ with the Homies podcast, Garbrandt said even though his preparation for the fight went well, France was simply better that night.
“It is what it is. You have to face the music and s—t,” said Garbrandt (via MMA Junkie). “I’ve seen the highlights. The camp was great, felt good, the weight cut was amazing. Rehydration, refuel process was good. I felt great at 125. I just got caught with a good punch in there and just couldn’t recover. After I got hit with the punch, got back up, kind of felt okay to where I was moving, coming forward, but I still wasn’t like all there and I took him down, and then we got into a scramble and came back to our feet and it just felt like I was on a slant.
“I was like damn, I’m still not recovered,” continued Garbrandt. “He brought the pressure and he brought the combinations and was able to capitalize, so hats off to him. He was able to do his job and I still feel like 25 is a great weight for me. I love what I was able to do inside the camp. What I’m taking away from this past camp or the last six months of getting the weight down or three months of camp we did was just the positive stuff from it.”
Though he has yet to figure out what weight class he will be competing at for his next outing, Garbrandt has hinted at a return to bantamweight for a potential fight against Sean O’Malley. Garbrandt and O’Malley have traded barbs before, but their heated rivalry was taken a step further when they shared the stage during the pre-fight press conference for UFC 269. Both men nearly came to blows, and it appeared as though ‘No Love’ and ’Sugar’ could share the Octagon at some point.
O’Malley may not be the only option available; however, Garbrandt would still like that fight to happen soon.
“There’s a lot of good matchups,” said Garbrandt. “Sean O’Malley, I really want to whoop his ass. That’s a fight that’s looming. Hopefully, that could possibly be my next one. I want that fight so I’d like to stay at 135. He might fight me now because I’m not in the rankings at 35 and he’s ranked, so that’d be a good fight. You got to respect his skills, he leveled up a little bit with the Raulian fight, caught him early on, but we knew that. The only way he was going to win was catching him early on and he did that. He did his job, hats off to him. He’s now in the rankings, so I have to go back up to 35 and whoop his ass, but we’ll decide and figure it out.”
Garbrandt also addressed concerns over the trajectory of his professional career in recent years. The 30-year-old has been violently finished in four of his past six fights, invoking calls for his retirement from the sport altogether. Garbrandt has no interest in doing that just yet, so he will be around for as long as he sees fit.
“When it’s over, I say it’s over. Not the fans, not Dana [White], not anybody but me. When I know and I understand that I don’t have it anymore, I don’t have what it takes to push myself in training to be prepared to go out there and give my best shot to win, then I’ll be done. I can honestly say that, and I have a good support system around me that’ll be like, ‘Look, let’s look at something else’. But that’s so far down the road. I’m 30 years old. I still have a lot left in the tank to do. We’ll make the corrections, we’ll figure it out.”