Former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw has an idea of what Cody Garbrandt needs to do to get back on track in his career.
Dillashaw is expected to face Aljamain Sterling later this year for the next bantamweight title shot. He lost his belt after getting suspended for two years by USADA for EPO use.
Dillashaw returned last summer with a split decision win over Cory Sandhagen in one of the best fights of 2021. But, he suffered a nasty leg injury early on in the fight that required surgery and paused his comeback.
Dillashaw and Garbrandt battled twice in the Octagon, with Dillashaw winning both title fights. He took Garbrandt’s belt at UFC 217 before winning an immediate rematch at UFC 227.
Garbrandt’s struggles have continued after his Dillashaw fights, with knockout losses to the likes of Pedro Munhoz and flyweight Kai Kara-France. He’s slated to return later this year against Rani Yahya after his loss to Kara-France.
During a recent appearance on The Schaub Show, Dillashaw gave his thoughts on Garbrandt’s skillset and why he’s struggled in the Octagon.
“He’s a pretty freak athlete,” Dillashaw said. “He’s fast. He’s the fastest guy I’ve ever sparred or fought, by far the most speed, but I’m not trying to be a complete a**hole, but he’s not the smartest human being inside that cage. To be able to stay on the top, you’ve got to change who you are and fight to fight to fight, he’s the exact same fighter. He’s a wrestler. He knows how to wrestle. Why not learn some jiu-jitsu and stop relying on your chin and hands because your chin is not there.
“So change up who you are as a fighter, and he’s just not willing to do that. He’s gonna keep his head in the same spot, his hands are gonna be low, and he’s gonna throw hard, fast hooks. So after everyone sees where his weaknesses are at, and his left hand is in his pocket as he throws the right hand, just keep your left hand high and smoke him with the right. I mean, game over. We’ve seen it like five fights in a row.” (h/t MMA Junkie)
Garbrandt has lost five of his last six fights, with four of those losses coming by knockout and with his lone decision loss coming against Rob Font. A loss to Yahya later in 2022 could be potentially the end of Garbrandt’s run in the UFC.
That said, Dillashaw doesn’t believe that Garbrandt’s mistakes aren’t correctable, and he thinks Garbrandt still has what it takes to be a matchup nightmare at bantamweight and flyweight.
Do you agree with TJ Dillashaw’s assessment of Cody Garbrandt?