While the new UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandt is still soaking in his virtuoso performance against Dominick Cruz at UFC 207, his feelings about his potential future opponent and former Team Alpha Male partner, T.J. Dillashaw, have not changed.
“I’ll get satisfaction whoopin’ his ass, that’s for sure – and just what he did to the team, man. He sold out,” Garbrandt stated.
In 2015, Team Alpha Male experienced a civil war of sorts when then-champion T.J. Dillashaw and coach Duane Ludwig left California for Colorado to join Team Elevation. Duane Ludwig and Team Alpha Male creator Urijah Faber were falling out, which left Dillashaw with a tough choice for his career – either remain loyal to the squad who helped him reach the top of the division, or follow Ludwig who he felt was the one to take his career and skills to the next level. T.J. made the decision to move with Ludwig to the MusclePharm sponsored Team Elevation, which did not sit well with his friends in Colorado, particularly, Garbrandt who is all about loyalty.
Speaking on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, Garbrandt didn’t hold back when speaking on how he felt the whole situation played out. “He sold out. He’s a sellout. He sold his friends, everybody that got him there, that got him to where he was at. He saw a little bit of money and fuckin’ ran and ran away. There’s me, always there. The uncrowned champ. I was the uncrowned champ when he was there.”
Before earning the real UFC strap, Garbrandt considered himself the “uncrowned champion” at Team Alpha Male while T.J. Dillashaw was carrying the UFC gold. Even though Dillashaw became the champion by defeating Renan Barao in spectacular fashion, Garbrandt feels he wasn’t the legitimate champion. “He never even won the title,” stated Garbrandt. “Truly, Cruz never lost it, so T.J. was never really World Champion. Cruz was the World Champion. He never lost his belt in the Octagon. I’m the one who went out there and ripped it from him.”
Cody’s unwavering loyalty to his team has been on display many times throughout his UFC career. That word “loyalty” set Garbrandt off when Conor McGregor stirred up a war of words with Urijah Faber on The Ultimate Fighter. McGregor was trying to convince Faber that Dillashaw was only out for himself, right before he left for Colorado and friendships dissolved.
Now, with the UFC gold wrapped around his waist, Garbrandt has no qualms with putting his hands on Dillashaw inside the Octagon where it truly counts. “I don’t mind whoopin’ T.J.’s ass, ya know? He was a cancer to our team and what he tried to do to destroy it. I’ll make that shit personal too.”
While what occurs during hard sparring sessions are largely kept under wraps between teammates, when affiliations change and battle lines are drawn, unwritten rules are disregarded. According to Garbrandt, he got the best of Dillashaw in a training session to the point he briefly separated Dillashaw from consciousness. “I’ll spare everybody the $60 to buy the Pay-Per-View and put out the video of me knockin’ his ass out when I was 1-0.” Garbrandt explained, “He was saying he made me cry in practice. That motherfucker never made me cry. Ya know, I wasn’t the one lookin’ at the ceiling – ya know, on my back looking at the ceiling knocked out.”
In an era where fights that earn top billing are not always matchups that make the most sense from a rankings perspective, but rather fights that can generate heavy interest from the casual fan, a meeting between Garbrandt and Dillashaw would earn a check mark in both boxes. Immediately after winning the title at UFC 207, Garbrandt stated he wished to give Cruz a rematch because he earned the right by retaining the title for such a long period. While not taking that offer off the table, he now understands he has a few options at play. “I believe T.J. would be a good fight, a good storyline. Also, Jose Aldo expressed he wanted to fight me and Dom was talking about going up and fighting him. So, I don’t know, there’s a lot of possibilities,” said Garbrandt.
“I’m going to sit down with Dana and Sean, my management team and coaches and see what’s the best fight for me. I just want to enjoy this. I’m a champion now and it’s my job and duty, my responsibility to defend it against what fight makes the most sense for me.”
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation
Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.
Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.
Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.
From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.
The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
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