UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt believes he can be the one to stop Demetrious Johnson from breaking Anderson Silva’s longstanding UFC title defense record. And he’s willing to drop a weight class to prove it.
Johnson (25-2-1 MMA, 13-1-1 UFC) is the only flyweight champion in UFC history and will attempt to match Silva’s record of 10 consecutive defenses when he faces Wilson Reis in next month’s UFC on FOX 24 headliner. Should Johnson be victorious, his fight after that would give him sole possession of the record, but Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) believes he can prevent that from happening.
The UFC’s 135-pound king said he could make the 125-pound flyweight limit. He’s rather enthusiastic about it, in fact, and said if he can successfully defend his belt against T.J. Dillashaw (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) in the summer, he would be interested in a champion vs. champion fight as “Mighty Mouse” looks to make UFC history.
“I’d rather go down (a weight class) before I go up,” Garbrandt said in an interview with Onnit CEO Aubrey Marcus. “Demetrious has a fight with Wilson Reis in the not too distant future that’s coming up. He’ll tie Anderson Silva’s record, then his next fight would be the all-time record. He’s going for the huge record. Make him earn it (by fighting me).”
At just 25, Garbrandt has grand aspirations for his future in the sport. He’s mentioned the desire to be the UFC’s first three-division titleholder, and fighting Johnson would be the first step toward completing that goal.
He must first get past Dillashaw, his opposing coach on the upcoming “The Ultimate Fighter 25” series, but after that he believes several options would open up for him. He’s also expressed interest in showdowns with UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo and UFC lightweight champ Conor McGregor, but said those aren’t as realistic as Johnson at this point.
“Obviously T.J. is first and foremost – I’m focused on him – but you have to think about other things,” Garbrandt said. “Conor’s not fighting, Aldo and (Max) Holloway are fighting (at UFC 212 in June), so that ties up (everyone but) Demetrious, and he’s pound-for-pound best, incredible fighter, great human. I like him a lot and his family, but for me it’s a legacy I set out to build. Friendships are friendships, but it’s business at the end of the day, and I think it could go on as a huge fight, especially for that division because it’s kind of lackluster a lot.”
Garbrandt said he’s unsure what the UFC has planned for him if he defends the gold against Dillashaw but feels it needs to be big. He listed a rematch with Dominick Cruz, who he captured the belt from at UFC 207 in December, as a possibility. However, he said he’s not banking on that fight, and Johnson will be at the top of his list.
“I’m young, 25, so if I go down (in weight) now, the time is now for that fight (with Johnson) to be on the rise,” Garbrandt said. “I really think that should be (the next fight) – after the T.J. fight of course. … I’ll wait and see if Dominick comes back, but if not I’m going to go after ‘DJ.’”
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