Cody Garbrandt has sat atop the UFC bantamweight throne. Now, he has his eyes set on the UFC flyweight division and its champion Deiveson Figueiredo.
In an interview with ESPN on Tuesday, Garbrandt (12-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) said a title shot against Figueiredo (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) has not been officially offered. However, Garbrandt spoke at length about his interest in dropping down in weight to challenge the promotion’s recently-crowned 125-pound champion.
“As far as I know, I don’t have a contract in hand,” Garbrandt said. “We’re trying to wait on that with Ali and Dana and Sean and Mick. I’ve actually been vocal about going to 125 for quite some time now. We spoke about it in the past before the Assuncao fight. I feel like it’s great. I’m able to do it now still early in my career. I just turned 29. I’m able to go to 125, challenge, and win that title there. (Then,) I’ll go back up to 135 pounds and compete with the best of them there.”
Garbrandt, 29, said he wants to move down to flyweight because it’s still easy for him to drop the weight. Whether or not things work out at 125 pounds, he sees the opportunity to always be able to move back up to bantamweight and pursue gold there.
“The sports always evolving so you’ve got to evolve with it,” Garbrandt said. “I have a head coach. I have an offensive coordinator. I’ve got a defensive coordinator. I have every place set up, every coach set up for what I need to reach my goals and my dreams. They’re along for the ride helping me out through the whole process.
“… I think I’ll be able to reign that division for a while – and simultaneously go through bantamweight and do the same. I’m very excited for those tasks at hand and those opportunities to be a two-time, two-weight champ.”
When ESPN asked White on Monday about a potential Figueiredo vs. Garbrandt pairing, the UFC president smirked and responded, “Anything is possible.” Garbrandt indicated UFC president Dana White has displayed an interest in the matchup in a recent conversation.
“I talked to Dana when he was on ‘Fight Island,’” Gabrandt said. “He said he’ll work on it and he was speaking with Ali and my coach Mark Henry, (and) my coaches out here in Sacramento. That’s kind of the plan. Right now, I just got done working out and I’m 145 pounds. Twenty pounds over – that’s very doable. I don’t cut pounds until 135 pounds. I watch my weight the week of the fight. A lot of these guys are cutting to flyweight walking around this weight.”
While only Jussier Formiga has been able to defeat Figueiredo during his UFC tenure, Garbrandt said he thinks he’s figured out how to beat the promotion’s lone male Brazilian champion. Wherever Figueiredo wants to take the fight, Garbrandt thinks he’ll be a step ahead.
“I think he’s a great fighter,” Garbrandt said. “He’s tough. Everyone is tough in the UFC. He has a lot of holes I’ll be able to tackle and see. Joe hurt him a lot in the first fight. He’s got good submission skills, good jiu-jitsu, but my wrestling and jiu-jitsu (are) probably overlooked a lot of the time because I never have to use (them).
“I feel very confident wherever the fight goes. I can dictate the pace or where I want to put it. I think he gasses a lot. I’ve been in 25-minute fights with some of the best in the world so I feel like my gas tank and cardio and conditioning will never be a problem for me.”