Bringing in the end of a wild year for the UFC, the last pay-per-view of 2016 was sheer entertainment. Featuring stacks of great fights, UFC 207 delivered with a duo of bantamweight title fights. Winning ‘fight of the night’ honors was the co-main event of the evening, and it was an intense brawl. Coming in to UFC 207, many were picking Dominick Cruz to retain his title. Cody Garbrandt, although on a killer streak, appeared to be succumbing to his own emotions. Relentlessly trash talking in the lead up, ‘The Dominator’ had everyone, myself included, sold on his fifth title defense in the UFC.
Nothing is certain in this sport though, and ‘No Love’ delivered a beautifully technical performance at UFC 207. The Team Alpha Male vs. Cruz rivalry got a win on the TAM side for the first time in nine years. Garbrandt was doing the robot, posing for cameras as he landed crushing power punches. Dropping Cruz and making him miss like never before, the 25-year old put in a career performance hat won him a unanimous decision. During a 24-fight career with 22 wins, this is the first time Cruz ever lost a decision. Ironically, Garbrandt made Cruz look like so many of his own opponents, whiffing strikes and hitting nothing but air.
New Year, New Champ
Although the long-standing feud will likely continue, Cody Garbrandt was respectful when talking about Dominick Cruz. Speaking at the post fight press conference, ‘No Love’ pointed out Cruz’s accomplishments, but also says he was surprised in the octagon. As per MMAMania.com:
“I was really just curious to see his speed, his angles,” said Garbrandt during the UFC 207 post-fight press conference. “Everyone believed the hype of him being … he’s The Matrix, he’s a ghost in there. He’s great. I’m not taking nothing away from him, but I was almost in shock he was as slow as he was in his movements and his angles weren’t there.”
“That’s when it changed right there,” added Garbrandt. “He didn’t like that blood running down his face. That’s when I said, ‘Dominick, are you having fun yet?’ And he didn’t answer me. In the first and second round, he would answer me back each time. That’s right then, I knew that he wasn’t having fun in the fight.”
Garbrandt addresses his numerous taunts when scoring knockdowns and avoiding Cruz’s strikes:
“I was just living in the moment,” said Garbrandt. “I was just having fun out there and enjoying it. It was a great fight. I had so much fun in there. He’s a great sh*t talker. He knows a lot of good words. He speaks well. Sh*t, I couldn’t read until I was in the third grade. I barely graduated high school. I knew what I was getting into with him. I knew I couldn’t let his words and his trash talk get me emotional in there.”
Happy New Year folks, let’s hope 2017 brings us as much joy and entertainment as last year did!