UFC management is cautiously optimistic that UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt is the next big thing. The fighter concurs, and during a recent appearance on the Aubrey Marcus podcast, shared vast plans. Just three fighters in UFC history have held belts in two divisions – Randy Couture, BJ Penn, and Conor McGregor. Garbrandt plans to do one better, starting with a drop to 135 to fight flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson.
“I can beat that dude for sure,” said Garbrandt, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “I can go to ‘25. Obviously, it’s TJ first and foremost. I’m solely focused on him, but you gotta think of other – Conor’s out. Conor’s not fighting. Aldo and Holloway are fighting, so that ties up [that division].
“Now, Demetrious, he’s the pound-for-pound best – justifiably so, an incredible fighter, great human. I like him a lot. And his family. But for me, it’s a legacy that I set out to build. Friendships are friendships but it’s business at the end of the day and I think that I can go on as a huge fight, especially for that division. It’s kind of lackluster a lot.”
“I’d rather go down before I go up. Demetrious has a fight with Wilson Reis in the not-too-distant future. That’s coming up, so he’ll tie Anderson Silva’s record. Then his next fight will be the all-time record. So he has all that. . . [I want to] make him earn it.
“I think that’s something that I need to do. I’m young – 25 – so rather than cut when I’m older, try to go down, go now. The time is now for me with that fight. I really think that should be – after the TJ fight of course – if Dominick [Cruz], I think he’s not coming. I’ll wait and see if Dominick wants to come back. If not, I’m willing to go after Demetrious. That’s the fight that’s next in my mind after TJ. I always plan one ahead. I’m prepared for TJ but Demetrious is in the foreshadows.”
“Jose Aldo, I would like to fight him as well. He’s the champion right now. He has wins over my teammates too, so that’s something. Our camp knows Aldo. If my time is up to go up to ‘45, and Aldo’s still the champion, I’d love to go against another legend, be a three-time. Hopefully, I’ll have 10 more years of fighting to be able to capture those.”