Why is UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt coaching opposite and first defending his newly minted belt against former teammate TJ Dillashaw next and not meeting former longtime champion Dominick Cruz in an immediate rematch?
Cruz won the World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight title by taking it from Brian Bowles in March of 2010. He never lost the WEC strap. It morphed into the UFC bantamweight belt when the juggernaut absorbed WEC into its fold in 2011.
Prior to his recent loss to Garbrandt at UFC 207, Cruz had never lost the UFC championship. He vacated it early in 2014 after numerous injuries kept him out of the Octagon for more than two years. He returned later that year to make quick work of Takeya Mizugaki, but was again sidelined with injury before taking the belt back from Dillashaw in early 2016.
He defended the belt against Urijah Faber, but then lost it in a five-round unanimous decision loss to Garbrandt in December.
If anyone had earned an immediate rematch, it would be Cruz. Even Garbrandt has admitted that. So why aren’t they fighting again?
At The Ultimate Fighter Season 25 media day in Las Vegas, the current champion explained why, in no uncertain terms, that he would next be facing Dillashaw instead of Cruz.
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