In the early hours of Saturday morning, Cody Garbrandt cemented himself into UFC history with a stunning unanimous victory over Dominick Cruz.
With all the trash talking nonsense and media duties carried out, Garbrandt and Cruz battled it out for the Bantamweight crown at the packed T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
No matter how you look at it, this was a big upset in the world of MMA. Not so much that Garbrandt beat Cruz, who hadn’t been beaten since losing to Urijah Faber in 2007, but the fact that Garbrandt dropped Cruz three times and the manor of the performance as a whole. Garbrandt has built up a reputation as a heavy hitter and that was abundantly clear throughout the fight.
All in all, Garbrandt surprised Cruz with his technical ability and sheer power. I wouldn’t say Cruz underestimated his opponent but I’m pretty sure Cruz, like many others, would’ve expected Garbrandt to come out all guns blazing.
Instead what we saw was a level of confidence and composure that you’d expect from a seasoned champion and not a 25 year old up and comer. Yes, there was the showboating, taunting and mocking but all this added to the drama and ultimately backed up the confidence that was clearly evident in Garbrandt’s performance.
With a perfect 12-0 record, I can see Garbrandt sitting at the top of the Bantamweight pile for some time to come. Although many would surely like to see a rematch with Cruz at some point, I hope that the powers that be see sense and schedule in TJ Dillashaw as Garbrandt’s first opponent as champion.
No Love thoroughly deserved the win and was suitably gracious in victory by acknowledging the previous champ and his abilities. Cruz will no doubt be devastated with the defeat but he’ll bounce back and will be eager to regain the belt that he sees as his own.