Six years ago, Cody Garbrandt was on the top of the UFC bantamweight division, a knockout artist putting people to sleep left and right. He even secured the 135-pound title via a methodical beating of former perennial champion Dominick Cruz in late 2016.
The years that followed weren’t kind to “No Love,” losing three straight early KOs in the next two years. With a current record of 12-5, his last outing was another knockout loss, this time during his flyweight debut at UFC 269 against Kai Kara-France.
At 30 years old, there is definitely still a lot left in Garbrandt’s career. But according to his uncle and former coach Robert Messe, another knockout loss could very well end the ex-champ’s career.
“If Cody gets knocked out again, I am pretty sure his career is over,” Messe told TalkSport. “But Cody can come back. George Foreman hit a bump in his career and came back and he had more fun and made more money and won the heavyweight title.”
“So, Cody can come back, but he needs to learn to fight (defensively). Let your defense set up your offense.
“He’s been stopped four times, but then look at the Rob Font fight he went all rounds with Rob. In terms of weight cutting, has he done damage to his body?”
Messe says there was “a change in Cody” as far back as the two T.J. Dillashaw fights in 2017 and 2018.
“Going into the TJ fights we were concerned because there was a change in Cody. When Mike Tyson was knocking everybody out and then he lost he didn’t have that same fire, it happens to fighters,” he said.
“Cody was missing shot combinations on the mitts in camp, I told him if he’s missing the mitts he will miss in the fight.
“We all knew Cody wasn’t at his best going into that fight, me, Urijah Faber, Chris Holdsworth we all knew.”
Ultimately, Messe says the way for his nephew to get back to his old ways is to just keep grinding. He already has a name in mind for the next opponent, but also says he would be perfectly fine if Garbrandt decided to hang it up.
“I think he should just train, train and train. It would be nice to get that O’Malley fight, but hey O’Malley said it right why would he fight Cody. But if I am Cody, train to win, have some fun, and if his next fight is his last fight, enjoy it.”