Cody Garbrandt will get his chance at revenge after all.
A title rematch between UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw and Garbrandt has been slated for Aug. 4 in Los Angeles at UFC 227. MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani confirmed the booking Thursday following an initial report by ESPN.
Dillashaw defeated Garbrandt via second-round knockout to capture the belt in November 2017 at UFC 217. Neither man has competed since, meaning Garbrandt will get the luxury of receiving an immediate title rematch despite owning zero defenses of the 135-pound strap.
Many expected Dillashaw (15-3) to meet UFC flyweight king Demetrious Johnson in a much-discussed champion vs. champion superfight as his next outing, however a second fight with Garbrandt (11-1) publicly reentered the discussion in February when the UFC pushed to book Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2 as the short-notice replacement main event for UFC 222.
At the time, Dillashaw called his decision to turn down the UFC 222 matchup a “no-brainer,” citing lingering injuries, his push for the “Mighty Mouse” fight, and his reticence to give Garbrandt a title shot that he felt wasn’t deserved.
“It’s about this being a legitimate sport and doing it the right way,” Dillashaw said on The MMA Hour. “Tell me one other champion who never defended his belt and got an immediate rematch. He never once ever defended his belt — it wasn’t like he was a long-reigning champion or that he got robbed or whatever. There’s never ever been another champion that’s done it, so why are we making this precedent for Cody to get a rematch when he’s never defended his belt and then got knocked out? Like, how does that make sense whatsoever? So really, all I’ve got to do is state the facts.
“This is a sport. Get back in line. It took me two years to get a title shot off a split-decision loss to Dominick Cruz that the UFC told me they thought I won. It took me two years to get back to that case. Like, I worked my way back. I beat two No. 1 contenders to get there. It’s a sport, you’ve got to push hard and you’ve got to get after it. You can’t complain, you can’t be a sore loser and all this shoulda, coulda, woulda stuff.”
In the end, though, Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2 ended up being the direction the UFC went.
Dillashaw, 32, enters the contest having won seven of his last eight fights, a run highlighted by stoppage wins over former champions Garbrandt and Renan Barao (x2), as well as decisions over top contenders John Lineker and Raphael Assuncao.
Garbrandt, 26, saw his undefeated streak come to an end against Dillashaw at UFC 217. Prior to that setback, “No Love” went a perfect 6-0 in UFC competition, knocking out the likes of Thomas Almeida, Takeya Mizugaki and Augusto Mendes, and dominating former champion Dominick Cruz en route to a decision win.
UFC 227 takes place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif.