Cody Garbrandt not interested in Dominick Cruz rematch: ‘It’s so hard to top that performance’
Cody Garbrandt isn’t interested in running things back with Dominick Cruz.
Earlier this month, Garbrandt returned to form with a first-round knockout of Brian Kelleher at UFC 296. The win was Garbrandt’s first knockout since 2020 and leads to questions about what comes next for the seemingly rejuvenated former bantamweight champion. But if Garbrandt has his druthers, it won’t be a rematch with the man he took the belt from all those years ago.
“Honestly, that fight doesn’t interest me,” Garbrandt told ESPN when asked about a rematch with Dominick Cruz. “What else am I supposed to do with the guy? Go in and knock him out this time? That’s the only thing that would kind of put a statement or top that. It’s so hard to top that performance.”
Garbrandt first fought Cruz at UFC 207 back in 2016, in what still stands as the high-water mark of his career. Not only did Garbrandt win the title by unanimous decision, he did it in style, literally dancing around Cruz at various points during the fight. Coming off that performance, many fans believed Garbrandt would hold the title for a long time; however, “No Love” lost the belt to T.J. Dillashaw in his first title defense, getting knocked out in the second round.
From there, Garbrandt dropped four of his next five bouts, getting knocked out in three of them, and even made a brief attempt to cut to 125 pounds that ended in disaster. But in 2023, Garbrandt returned to 135 pounds and strung together two wins, his first win streak since 2016, and now he hopes to move that to three in a row with a fight against former flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo.
“I’ll fight anybody. It doesn’t matter,” Garbrandt said. “But at the end of the day, Deiveson Figueiredo coming to the bantamweight division and having a win over Rob Font, I go knock Deiveson out, and it puts me right back in title contention. That’s what I’m here to do. I don’t want to be a runner-up in this sport. I always want to be at the top. I think that fight stylistically and everything, it mounts to puts me back in the top.”
Garbrandt was actually booked to challenge Figueiredo for the flyweight title at UFC 255 back in 2020, however, “No Love” tested positive for COVID and was forced out of the bout. Now, both men find themselves at 135 pounds as Figueiredo recently made the move up, beating Rob Font in his divisional debut earlier this month.
Figueiredo is currently No. 8 in the UFC’s bantamweight rankings, and a win would position Garbrandt on the cusp of a title shot. Given the history between Garbrandt and current bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley, “No Love” would like nothing more than to finally settle their beef with the biggest stakes possible.
“If Sean’s still the champion when it’s my time to punch that ticket again, I would absolutely love that,” Garbrandt said. “And if he’s not, then I’ve got to work my way to Sean if he loses… I think a crash course with Sean is definitely in the near future. A money fight, that’s what this is all about. What is going to bring the most eyes to these fights. Sean and I have history, I would love to just go smack him around.”