Cody Garbrandt is currently the #2 ranked UFC bantamweight and holds a record of 11-2 in his professional MMA career. He is the former UFC bantamweight champion, beating Dominick Cruz via unanimous decision on December 30th, 2016 at UFC 207.
After his win, he coached on The Ultimate Fighter 25 against his former teammate TJ Dillashaw. He went on to face Dillashaw to defend his title at UFC 217. Garbrandt lost to Dillashaw via KO in the second round. This was his first professional loss in his MMA career and the UFC. Garbrandt suffered the same fate at UFC 227, losing to Dillashaw by TKO but this time in the first round.
What is the challenge for Cody Garbrandt?
There is no doubt that Garbrandt is looking to bounce back after those losses to Dillashaw. However, he has a tough opponent ahead of him at UFC 235. The #9 ranked UFC bantamweight Pedro Munhoz is looking to extend his two-fight win streak this weekend.
The Brazilian holds a record of 17-3-1 with 9 of his wins coming by submission. Munhoz poses a real threat as a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Although Garbrandt has a legitimate background in wrestling, he has only fought a comparable grappler in Augusto Mendes.
Munhoz, having won nine of his seventeen wins by submission, has a real chance to submit Garbrandt. The obvious for Munhoz will be to avoid that big right hand and left hook of Garbrandt. Some may think Munhoz needs the takedown, but he is a formidable striker and noteworthy kicker himself.
Has Garbrandt prepared for his new journey back to the belt?
In January 2019, Garbrandt was on the Ariel Helwani show (full interview can be seen here) and said,
“I’m just focusing on myself. Getting back in the win column, climbing that mountain and cleaning out the division and getting back on top.”
It seems Garbrandt’s focus is regaining the title and going through anyone he has to. Garbrandt mentions that he had broken the same hand twice in both fights against TJ Dillashaw. Garbrandt reassured that his hand was 100% and ready for UFC 235.
Garbrandt has quite a mountain to climb to make a run for the title. With the rematch of Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw floating in the air, who knows when the title at 135 ponds will be defended. I believe Garbrandt’s focus is on Munhoz and has what it takes to win at UFC 235. Garbrandt will have to use his excellent footwork and takedown defense to keep this fight standing. If he does that, I believe Garbrandt will win at UFC 235.
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