Heading into his UFC Fight Night bout against Thomas Almeida, Cody Garbrandt felt a little bit overlooked in the hierarchy of the bantamweight division.
The Team Alpha Male prospect was on the outside looking in of the promotion’s 135-pound rankings prior to his first-round knockout of Almeida at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Sunday evening. Now, “No Love” wants to see some, well, love coming his way.
“I feel like, with a knockout win over Thomas Almeida, I deserve to get some respect,” Garbrandt said during an interview on Fox Sports 1. “I wasn’t even ranked in the top 15, but that’s fine. I had to fight a guy to earn my spot. That’s what I’m down to do: to earn my shot, to earn everything.”
If Garbrandt wasn’t regarded as a contender prior to his showdown with Almeida, he certainly has more eyes on him now. The 24-year-old was nearly flawless in his dismantling of the previously unbeaten Brazilian prospect. He rattled Almeida with a vicious left hook early then put his foe away with a pair of right hands 2:53 into the opening stanza. Through it all, Garbrandt emerged virtually unscathed thanks to clear speed and power edge against his highly-touted adversary.
Despite his opponent’s credentials, Garbrandt came in expecting to put Almeida away in relatively short order.
“I definitely believe in myself. I believe I’m the hardest hitter in my division. I felt his energy at weigh-ins; I felt a different vibe. I knew he was a slow starter, so I knew I had to get on him,” he said. “I knew one of the shots I landed was hard and I saw it in his eye and he started bleeding, and he wouldn’t come forward on me like he does in other fights. I knew I had to jump on him early…I saw the speed difference and definitely the power difference.”
While Garbrandt trains in California, his heart resides in Ohio. With that in mind, he hopes his next Octagon appearance will take place at the recently announced event in his home state.
“Cleveland. You know, they’re coming,” Garbrandt said. “Stipe Miocic’s on there defending his belt. Cleveland, Ohio, September 10th, UFC 203. I would love to fight in my home state and give them another performance.”
Now 4-0 in the Octagon with three finishes to his credit, Garbrandt believes it’s time to take the a step up in competition, regardless of the venue.
“Let me get some of these guys that are high caliber,” he said. “The higher the opponent for me, the more that I shine.”
That includes the man at the top, who Garbrandt’s teammate, Urijah Faber, will challenge at UFC 199 this Saturday in Los Angeles.
“I will knock out anyone in my division, Dominick Cruz or whoever it is,” he said. “I am coming for that belt.”