Not only are multiple belts on the line at UFC 217 but now it seems that stability for multiple divisions could be at stake as well.
On Wednesday, UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping teased the possibility of moving up to light heavyweight to challenge Daniel Cormier should he beat Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217, and now, according to his coach, bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt may be next.
Speaking on the Five Rounds podcast recently, Justin Buchholz, the head coach of Team Alpha Male, stated that with a win over rival T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 217, Garbrandt could be looking at dropping down to 125 pounds to challenge pound-for-pound kingpin Demetrious Johnson.
“For sure, [Cody] can do it right now. He’s real big and strong right now and he’s getting bigger so he’s gotta do it right now if he does go down. For sure, [Demetrious Johnson] is a fight that we would love to have but we’ll just see about getting his body down to 125 [pounds].”
Garbrandt has spent his entire career competing as a bantamweight, save one expedition up to the featherweight limit and a catchweight bout against Augusto Mendes who missed weight for their fight. The bantamweight champion has never made the 125-pound limit but Buchholz is confident that would be formulaic, saying it would be doable through sheer will power but easy with the resources now available.
“I’m confident that can happen. That’s nothing. I’ve seen a lot harder things than that. Cody can make that weight and keep his power and put the weight back on and go back to ‘35 at this point in his career, while he’s young. We know the dangers of switching weight classes and whatnot with Roy Jones Jr. and you can see the stuff with B.J. Penn. We know what we’re doing here. Everything’s a science now. You’ve got to be on top of your game so you can get the correct people and set the right systems in place. We can do it old school so that’s why I’m confident with all the new school stuff it’d be even easier.”
Johnson himself has previously said that he would be amenable to facing Garbrandt at either 125 pounds or moving up to challenge for the 135-pound belt if the UFC was interested. But Buchholz suggests it would actually be more appealing for Garbrandt to face Johnson on the P4P king’s home turf so they can try to stop history from being made. Johnson is currently tied with Anderson Silva for most title defenses in UFC history at 10 and he has the opportunity to break that record when he faces Ray Borg next week at UFC 216; there’s an asterisk though. Silva’s first scheduled title defense was supposed to be against Travis Lutter, but Lutter missed weight, making the bout a non-title affair. Silva still won leading some to consider the true record to be 11 title defenses; and Buchholz and Garbrandt seem to think stopping Johnson from doing that would be worth the weight cut.
“Just to do it because it’s a gangster move. At that point he’d be breaking Anderson Silva’s record so it would be for the people of Brazil. We’ll keep that record intact.”
Cody Garbrandt defends his UFC bantamweight title against T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 in Madison Square Garden.
Read this and other articles on the Morning Report at MMAFighting.com: https://www.mmafighting.com/2017/9/28/16377744/morning-report-cody-garbrandts-coach-wants-demetrious-johnson-at-125-lbs-after-beating-tj-dillashaw