5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) / 135 lb (61 kg; 9 st 9 lb) / Bantamweight
Martial Art Background
Cody Garbrandt is one of the hardest punchers in the bantamweight division, his boxing is crisp, but he also sacrifices a bit of his defense to land that knockout shot. One takeaway from Garbrandt is that win, lose or draw, he always put on a show for the fans. He has been to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows as well.
Before starting his MMA career, Garbrandt had wrestled at his college since he was also a Division II division wrestler and was competing at football. It may be where he got his athleticism and to explode in just milliseconds.
He started his amateur MMA career in 2009 and had a 6-2 before transitioning to pro-MMA. His primary training camp is at Team Alpha Male, under Urijah Faber, who was also his inspiration on his rise to MMA. Team Alpha Male consists of top-level fighters, especially at smaller divisions, so it was an excellent fit for Garbrandt.
After racking up five straight wins since his debut, he was finally set to make his UFC debut against Marcus Brimage, a UFC veteran. Garbrandt showcased his high knockout power, finishing Brimage with 10 seconds left in the third round.
His second UFC fight was against Henry Briones at UFC 189, where he won his first decision. Up to that moment, Gabrandt had six straight knockout wins.
Garbrandt pushes McGregor
He then accompanied his teammate, Urijah Faber, at TUF as one of the coaches. He gained massive attention for standing up against Conor McGregor because he defended the name of Faber and Dillashaw. It shows how Garbrandt was willing to defend the honor of his teammates.
Garbrandt faced undefeated Augusto Mendes and finished the fight in just the first round with a vicious knockout. A huge battle was also booked when the UFC decided to make Garbrandt vs. Almeida the main event for a UFC Fight Night.
Garbrandt vs Almeida
Almeida was a rising prospect as well, where he had tremendous hype, similar to Garbrandt. It was two rising undefeated prospects clashing at the early stages of their career. Almeida was the favorite to win since he had a 21-0 record going to the fight.
Garbrandt stunned Almeida, which led to a finish within 3 minutes of the first round. Garbrandt had the speed and power advantage that may have caught Almeida off guard.
Now the hype of Almeida has transferred to Garbrandt and a few more wins, he will likely fight for the title. His next fight was UFC veteran, Takeya Mizugaki. Garbrandt was the heavy favorite to win the fight, and he delivered a finish within the first minute of the battle.
Cruz vs Garbrandt
Urijah Faber just lost to Dominick Cruz and said that after facing Cruz, he does not doubt that Garbrandt will beat Cruz if they clash. The UFC booked the fight next, and it was Garbrandt’s first title shot.
Cruz was going in as the favorite since he had a better resume and has not lost for a long time. Many expected that Cruz would style on a young prospect like Garbrandt, but that was not the case. It was Garbrandt that put on a masterclass.
Dominick Cruz was known for his high-level footwork and evasiveness that he makes his opponents hit air instead. On that night, it was Cruz that was hitting air and Garbrandt dominating all five rounds. It was a jaw-dropping performance that would be remembered for a long time.
Garbrandt vs Dillashaw Rivalry
After winning the belt, Garbrandt called out his former teammate TJ Dillashaw since they have a history with team issues. There was a lot of bad blood, and the UFC capitalized on it by booking a The Ultimate Fighter series with them as the coaches.
Once the TUF finished, the title fight was booked, and there was a lot of hype because of the bad blood. It was a great back and forth from both guys, but Garbrandt managed to knock Dillashaw down in the closing seconds of the first round.
Dillashaw went back to his corner wobbled, but he managed to recover in the second round. He also had the adjustments and caught Garbrandt with a kick and finally a counter punch that exploited Gabrandt’s defense. Garbrandt was knocked down and was unable to defend the strikes, so the referee stopped the fight.
A rematch was booked, but many thought that Garbrandt did not deserve it since he was not even able to defend his belt once. In the fight, the same thing happened Garbrandt did not learn from the mistakes he committed in their first match. He did not work on his defensive flaw and was looking for the early knockout. He got clipped numerous times, and Dillashaw went for the finish.
It was a significant setback since he lost two in a row against the champion. It was not until the year later that Garbrandt decided to fight again. He was set to face Pedro Munhoz. Garbrandt had a disappointing performance once again by headhunting and fighting technical. Munhoz was too durable that he got clipped but wouldn’t go down. As for Garbrandt, he went down once he emptied his gas tank, and Munhoz was still landing.
Three straight losses via knockout was a tough spot to be in, but he worked on his MMA game. His next fight was a year later; it was against Raphael Assuncao. It was a must-win for Garbrandt since he already had three straight KO losses, and another loss might lead to him being cut from the UFC.
Garbrandt delivered a highlight reel KO, where he threw a haymaker at the last second of the second round that put Assuncao to sleep. It was a great comeback win for Garbrandt’s career. He just went over a significant slump and wants to go on a title run.
Moving down to Flyweight
Rob Font was another top contender, and a win over Font might bring a title fight much closer. Unfortunately, Font was just the better fighter since he was able to land the violent jab that neutralized Garbrandt. The reach advantage played a key as well.
Garbrandt decided that it was better to move down at flyweight since he was capable of cutting another 10 pounds. He is now set to face Kai Kara France at UFC 269.