Cody Garbrandt wants to make history.
The 26-year old Ohio native has never been shy vocalizing his goals, which played a large part in his fast rise to fame in 2016 when he went from an unranked prospect to UFC world champion inside 12 months.
Now as Garbrandt prepares for his first title defense against T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 217, he’s already thinking about his next fight and how he can further cement his legacy as one of the greatest fighters of all time.
That might sound ridiculous considering Garbrandt is only 11-0 as a professional and just about to defend his belt for the firs time, but the people saying his lofty goals are unattainable are the same ones who said he’d never become UFC champion before 2016 was over.
So Garbrandt chooses to ignore the folks who say he can’t do it while he’s plotting a super fight against arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts today.
“My eyes are set on becoming a name that’s going to live on forever from the UFC and MMA. I’d like to go down and fight Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” [Johnson] after this fight,” Garbrandt told the Fight Society podcast. “I’m not looking past [Dillashaw]. I’m so happy for “Mighty Mouse”, him and his wife and family are amazing, he’s a great champion for kids to look up to, he’s the pound-for-pound best. No animosity but I can make [125 pounds], if he wants to come up to [135 pounds], it doesn’t matter.
“That’s a fight that I would like. That’s a fight that makes sense.”
Garbrandt is well aware of Johnson’s credentials since moving down to 125 pounds where he’s been undefeated and absolutely ravaged every contender the UFC has thrown at him over the past few years.
Johnson’s resume is part of the reason why Garbrandt isn’t opposed to dropping down a division just for the challenge of facing him, but he’s also on board if the UFC just wants to make this a champion versus champion super fight.
In Garbrandt’s mind, winning a second world title would be great but just being the person to finally topple Johnson would be the real accomplishment.
“There’s a lot of things for me to gain going down to 125. I’d be a two-weight world champion just like Conor McGregor. I can simultaneously defend both belts. Or we could do 130 [pounds]. He fought at 135, just to make it a super fight. No titles on the line, we got back to our weight classes win or lose,” Garbrandt said. “I’m up for whatever.
Garbrandt is steadfast in the request to fight Johnson next not only because it would give him the opportunity to engage in a champion versus champion matchup but also because if he beats Dillashaw on Saturday night, he’s already vanquished arguably the two best fighters in the world at 135 pounds.
Garbrandt earned a dominant decision over former champion Dominick Cruz last year, handing him a defeat for the first time in nearly a decade and beating another ex-champion like Dillashaw only proves he’s truly one of best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
Attaining that top spot is ultimately Garbrandt’s goal and there’s no faster path to getting there than beating Johnson.
“All eyes on Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson after the great performance he just had. He has wiped out the 125-pound division. He’s the pound-for-pound best and I am the guy, I destroyed a guy [Dominick Cruz] who beat him in his last defeat,” Garbrandt said.
“I know it would be a huge fight with me and Demetrious after the T.J. fight. I’m solely focused on him. I’m going to knock T.J. out. He doesn’t have a chin. I’ve tested his chin numerous times in the practice room when I was 1-0. I’m 11-0 world champion now. I’m excited to go out there and end this chapter.”