Cody Garbrandt was ready to climb back up the ladder.
Following a second round knockout loss to T.J. Dillashaw last November, the former UFC bantamweight champion was picking up the pieces and preparing himself to face the next top contender so he could get back into the title race.
Names like Raphael Assuncao were tossed his way but then an injury befell featherweight champion Max Holloway and the UFC desperately needed a main event for the March pay-per-view card.
With limited options on the table, the UFC called on Garbrandt to face off with Dillashaw in a short notice rematch with the bantamweight title on the line. Garbrandt says he quickly accepted but Dillashaw didn’t do the same.
“This is what the UFC wanted. The UFC called me to fight TJ in the March card when [Max] Holloway got hurt and no second thoughts. Yes, right away,” Garbrandt explained when talking about his rematch with Dillashaw on Monday. “I was about to have a baby and I ended up having a baby the same weekend. I just asked my wife, I said I’m going to have this fight, I feel good, that’s how confident I am. I’m so confident that I know what I’m able to do to TJ healthy. Nobody in the world can beat me when I’m healthy. Those are facts.”
Garbrandt claims the UFC came back to him and said that Dillashaw turned down the fight but by that point they were resolved to make the rematch happen.
“The UFC told me they couldn’t believe how many excuses he had not to fight me March. They said for that reason, they were going to make the rematch. It won’t be in March, we’ll get you a date later on,” Garbrandt stated.
According to the Team Alpha Male fighter, his former teammate told the UFC about several issues he was facing that would force him to delay the fight, which is why the rematch didn’t get scheduled until UFC 227 this weekend in Los Angeles.
“I think that he had an RV trip, he just had a kid seven weeks ago. His gym was in California and he lived in Colorado. There was like six or seven [excuses]. The RV trip was the funniest thing,” Garbrandt revealed when asked about why Dillashaw didn’t take the fight right away.
“The UFC came to me and offered it to me. I wasn’t b–ching and crying. You didn’t see me on social media crying about a rematch. I know that I’m the better fighter but if I’ve got to climb back up the mountain to do it, I’ll do it all over again.”
Over the course of the next few months, Garbrandt says that the UFC offered him several possible dates for the rematch with Dillashaw but still the fight was never finalized.
Out of frustration due to the repeated delays, the Ohio native eventually told his manager to stop telling him about the offers until the UFC came to him with a contract to sign and then he would put his name on the dotted line to face Dillashaw again.
“It went from June, it was supposed to be in Chicago then July fight week and then August,” Garbrandt said. “They kept going back and forth. Finally, I was like to Ali [Abdelaziz], when they have a contract, just email it and I’ll sign it. TJ said he’d be ready in August, he said he had an injury or something. Whatever that happens, I understand.
“Wait until August, here we are fight week. I feel amazing, great camp, ready to go do the thing.”
While the rematch was never his idea, Garbrandt is obviously excited for the opportunity to avenge his prior loss to Dillashaw and hopefully settle the score with him once and for all.
Of course, Garbrandt understands that a win on Saturday night would only tie his series of fights with Dillashaw at one win a piece so a trilogy might be in the works assuming he’s victorious.
Garbrandt says he’s on board with that scenario but not before he makes Dillashaw sweat a little bit after he was forced to wait several months until the rematch was finally scheduled.
“I might make his b–ch ass wait a little bit,” Garbrandt said. “Cause he didn’t want to give me the rematch.”