Cody Garbrandt may have leapfrogged ahead of the Top 5 bantamweights all the way to a title fight with Dominick Cruz.
That’s because according to the latest MMA news, Garbrandt is the front runner to get the next crack at the Dominator. The bout was first reported by Ariel Helwani:
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 20, 2016
Ranked 6th in the UFC’s bantamweight title following his win over Thomas Almeida last May, Garbrandt may have talked his way to a title shot. There is no doubt that Garbrandt’s had an impressive 2016 with three wins and three first round knockouts. But more than his fight resume, it was his back and forth trash talk with Cruz that’s made this bout a story.
Aside from Garbrandt, top ranked bantamweights like T.J. Dillashaw, Jon Lineker and Bryan Caraway all deserve a shot at the bantamweight gold. But in the tradition of Bisping-Hendo 2 at UFC 204 and McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, the fight that made the most financial sense got the nod.
Dominator Once More
After a long struggle with injuries, Dominick Cruz returned earlier this year to capture the title he never lost inside the Octagon. Cruz bested erstwhile champion T.J. Dillashaw in a surgical five rounder. The Dominator then followed that up with a win over rival Urijah Faber at UFC 199.
Before those two victories, Cruz fought just once from 2012 to 2014 because of different and recurring injuries. But Cruz set his sights on regaining his old title and did so in what experts call the Greatest Comeback story in MMA history.
Garbrandt is an immaculate 5-0 with 5 KOs in the UFC. Without doubt, his biggest win came against the highly touted Thomas Almeida in the main event of UFC Fight Night 88. Garbrandt is one of the division’s hardest hitters but the question is if he can find his target. Dominick Cruz’s hit and run style may not be a good fit for Garbrandt, who loves to brawl.
Year End Extravaganza
The bout is reportedly being worked out for UFC 207 on December 3th0, 2015 UFC 207 will be headlined by the women’s bantamweight title bout between champion Amanda Nunes and the comebacking Ronda Rousey. It will mark Rousey’s first octagon appearance since losing by knockout to Holly Holm at UFC 193.
The UFC typically ends the year big with an explosive final event. Rousey’s return will be big enough to do that. Adding Cruz vs. Garbrandt would be icing on the cake for they UFC’s year ender.