After the craziness of UFC 207 and the potential retirement of a mainstream star in Ronda Rousey, never has the need for a crossover star that ‘Joe-Public’ and the hardcore contingent can gravitate towards been more important, but there may very well be a beacon of light in Cody ‘No Love” Garbrandt…
Put simply, despite the judges close scoring, Cody ‘schooled’ Dominick Cruz and in large parts of the fight beat ‘The Dominator” at his own game. His head movement, footwork and power were all on point. His confidence exuded without overstepping the boundaries to arrogance (which could have caused him some real problems towards the end of the 5th round).
Truth be told, Cody had Cruz beaten within 30 secs of the fight. For all the talk before the fight about how Cruz had gotten into his head and the worry that he would fight too emotionally in the Octagon, the moment he was able to evade and throw a combination to Cruz’s body and head, the fight was a foregone conclusion. Sure, Cruz showed he has a solid chin and a ton of heart, but the frustration was apparent to see and his footwork and evasive style that made him such a success in the WEC and now the UFC was now being thrown back in his face and it didn’t look like anyone his team had a ‘Plan B’.
The great thing about the fight game in my opinion is seeing surging, hungry contenders who are so channeled in their dedication to become the best and showcase an unwavering confidence that they can beat the champion. In recent years we have seen this happen on a number of occasions — Conor knew he could beat Aldo, Weidman knew he had the style to beat Silva, Jon Jones TKO’ing Shogun, Woodley knowing if he caught Lawler it would be lights out and Holy Holm knowing she had the game plan to beat Ronda Rousey.
In this new world of WME-owned UFC, the need for the next Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey is at an all time high. Cody Garbrandt has the look, the fan friendly style and more importantly a great story to tell. His relationship with Maddux Maple; a young cancer survivor is genuine and shows that even tough guys have hearts. Cody met Maddux 2011, Maddux lived near where Cody grew up, and was diagnosed with leukemia at age five. Cody reached out to Maddux shortly after he (Maddux) had his first chemotherapy.
Cody, by his own admission, was going down a dark path and had recently embarked on his career in the fight game building up his boxing and MMA resume. He was brining to the table a real nasty streak to his life in and out of the cage (in large part due to lack of father figure in his life because of a splintered relationship with his father). After spending time with Maddux, something stuck with Cody and both made a promise to one another that they wouldn’t give up on each other and would keep on fighting together — Cody would strive to reach the pinnacle of the UFC and Maddux would face his own fight with cancer. They haven’t looked back since and the night of Cody Grabandt’s coronation as champ, he fulfilled his promise to the shy little boy he met five years previously and gave him his belt that he had so rightfully earned that night.
Questions will remain as they always do when a new champion is crowned. Can Cody keep the belt? Did Cruz have a ‘bad day at the office’? Can TJ Dillashaw act as spoiler? However, what is cemented fundamentally is that if the UFC plays it’s card right they could very well have someone in Cody that could become as big crossover star, if not bigger that Uriah Faber. This could be the start of something exciting in the bantamweight division and if Cody can beat TJ in impressive fashion, the UFC could have another leading light that could dominate the division for years to come.
This article comes to us by way of @LeithMonz
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