Cody Garbrandt is dreaming big.
While the UFC bantamweight champion has a title defense with T.J. Dillashaw lined up after their coaching gigs on “The Ultimate Fighter 25,” he isn’t afraid to plot his course after that bout. Should all goes as planned against Dillashaw, current flyweight king Demetrious Johnson would be next on the agenda.
“I can go to [125 pounds]. Obviously T.J. first and foremost, I’m solely focused on him. But you’ve got to think Conor’s not fighting. Aldo and Holloway are fighting, so it ties that up,” Garbrandt said on "The Aubrey Marcus Podcast.”
“Demetrious is the pound-for-pound best, incredible fighter. Great human, I like him a lot and his family. But for me it’s a legacy that I set out to build. Friendships are friendships. It’s business at the end of the day. I think that can go on as a huge fight. Especially for that division; it’s kind of lackluster a lot.”
Johnson has been dominant since capturing the promotion’s inaugural flyweight belt with a victory over Joseph Benavidez at UFC 152 in September 2012. “Mighty Mouse” has taken on all comers during his reign, defending the belt nine times against the best the division has to offer. Johnson will attempt to make his 10th title defense when he faces Wilson Reis in the UFC on Fox 24 headliner on April 15 in Kansas City, Mo.
If he defeats Reis, the AMC Pankration product will be one victory away from breaking Anderson Silva’s UFC record for most consecutive title defenses. In an ideal world, Johnson would be forced to break that mark against Garbrandt.
“That’s my thing. I’d rather go down before I go up,” Garbrandt said. “Demetrious has a fight with Wilson Reis in the not too distant future. That’s coming up. He’ll tie Anderson Silva’s record,and his next fight would be the all-time record. So he has all that going. He’s going after a huge record. Make him earn it [against] a worthy opponent right here.”
In a short time, Garbrandt has established himself as one of the UFC’s brightest young stars. After winning his first five bouts in the Octagon in impressive fashion, “No Love” solved the Dominick Cruz puzzle at UFC 207, taking a unanimous verdict to claim the 135-pound championship. Currently just 25 years old, Garbrandt believes making the cut to 125 pounds is something best done sooner rather than later.
“I think that’s something that I need to do. I’m young. Rather than cut when I’m older and try to go down, go now,” he said. “The time’s now for me for that fight to be on the horizon. I think that should be after the T.J. fight, of course. I’ll wait and see if Dominick wants to come back. If not, I think I’ll go after Demetrious. That’s a fight that’s next on my mind after T.J. I’m just playing one ahead.”
While moving down to flyweight after making his first bantamweight defense is priority No. 1, Garbrandt could eventually see himself moving up to 145 pounds to pursue championship hardware there — especially if Jose Aldo remains on top of the weight class.
“That’s something. Jose Aldo, I would like to fight him as well. He’s the champion right now, he has wins over my teammates, so it’s something. Our camp knows Aldo,” Garbrandt said. “If my time is up to go up to 45 and it works out and Aldo’s still the champion, I would love to go up against another legend.”