UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and top contender T.J. Dillashaw don’t agree on much but they are least on the same page with one topic of discussion.
While the title fight between Garbrandt and Dillashaw is being billed as the co-main event for UFC 217, the former teammates turned rivals know they deserve the headline status.
The current main event for the card pits middleweight champion Michael Bisping against Georges St-Pierre, but Garbrandt and Dillashaw feel like their matchup is really what fans are clamoring to witness on Nov. 4.
“This isn’t a gimme fight. Bisping and GSP fight is a gimme fight, they’re just trying to sell tickets. Our fight sells on all avenues, on all angles, everywhere,” Garbrandt told MMAWeekly during the UFC 217 media conference call on Wednesday. “Everyone wants to see this fight, it’s a grudge match. Two fighters going out there the former interim champion fighting the champion. That in itself is the main event.
“No disrespect to Rose [Namajunas] and Joanna [Jedrzejczyk], I think they’re great fighters, but we’re the real main event on Nov. 4.”
Dillashaw echoed those same thoughts, especially considering his fight with Garbrandt was originally scheduled to headline UFC 213 over the summer until an injury pushed the matchup back until November.
Bisping and St-Pierre are getting the marquee spot, but Dillashaw is confident that his fight with Garbrandt is the one deserving of the most attention.
“Like he said, me and him are the real main event of this card,” Dillashaw added. “70-percent of the fans want to see our fight more than any of the other ones on this card so it added up to this for a reason. It’s building our names.”
As much as Garbrandt and Dillashaw feel like they should be in the headline spot, it doesn’t seem to bother them too much that they didn’t have to travel much ahead of the card or get forced into any sort of media tour like what Bisping and St-Pierre have endured.
In that way, Garbrandt says he’s happy to play the co-main event slot but that doesn’t mean people tuning in from around the world don’t know that his grudge match with Dillashaw is the most highly anticipated fight of the night.
“It’s good. Bisping and GSP, they can travel around in camp and do all the press and media. I can just sit back and train and focus on T.J. Nov. 4,” Garbrandt said. “Like I said, I don’t think it needs to be anymore over hyped than it’s going to be. It’s a fight that doesn’t need hype, doesn’t need media behind it, doesn’t need any of that.
“I think the fight sells itself.”