Garbrandt’s comments came after his former arch-rival returned to the Octagon after serving a two-year suspension following a positive test for EPO in 2019. In one of the closest five-round fights in recent memory, Dillashaw secured the split decision win (47-48, 48-47, 48-47) against the #2-ranked bantamweight.
But not everyone agreed with the decision. Many claimed that the damage Sandhagen inflicted was enough for him to have edged ahead in the main event bout. When asked on Twitter who he thought had one the thrilling headliner, Garbrandt made it clear which side of the debate he fell on.
“Legit thought Cory did way more damage the take downs didn’t do shit with them and controlling him against the cage wasn’t a deciding factor, Cory looked cleaner and did more damage. Feel for Cory that was his fight.”
Given his rivalry with Dillashaw prior to the Californian’s suspension, it would’ve taken something definitive for “No Love” to have supported his former foe. In this case, Garbrandt’s opinion reflects that of many in the MMA community who believe Sandhagen did enough to warrant the nod from the judges.
The debate over the fight seemingly centers around judging perspectives. While the likes of “The Sandman” and current 135-pound champ Aljamain Sterling have suggested that damage inflicted should supersede everything, others have said being able to record over eight minutes of control time as Dillashaw did, even without causing significant damage, is more important to consider.
Having returned in style, Dillashaw will now likely fight for the championship when he next enters the Octagon. With Sterling expected to rematch Petr Yan at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi later this year, it stands to reason Dillashaw will meet the winner as the year draws to a close or early in 2022. Sandhagen, meanwhile, will look to rebound next time out and secure his own title shot with a victory over another top-contender like Rob Font.
For Garbrandt, a recent loss to Font appears to signal the end of the former champ’s run in the bantamweight division. Having originally been scheduled to challenge Deiveson Figuieredo for the 125-pound belt in 2020, “No Love” looks set to make the permanent switch later this year. Kai Kara-France’s name has floated around as Garbrandt’s possible divisional debut opponent.
What do you make of Cody Garbrandt’s assessment of Cory Sandhagen’s loss to T.J. Dillashaw at UFC Vegas 32?