It wasn’t going to be long until a war of words erupted between former friends and teammates Cody Gabrandt and TJ Dillashaw. Prior to UFC 207, Dillashaw had made it clear that he wasn’t a fan of the UFC booking Garbrandt for a title shot and not him. In fact, he thought the matchup made a mockery of the sport.
Although Garbrandt initially didn't appear overly interested in a fight with TJ, it now seems that the newly crowned bantamweight champion is warming up to the idea of first title defense against his former Team Alpha Male friend. Appearing on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, Cody had this to say:
“I don’t mind whoopin’ T.J.’s ass,” Garbrandt said. “He was a cancer to our team and having what he tried to do - destroy it - to make that s**t personal too."
The pair have already traded barbs, with Dillashaw alleging that he made Garbrandt cry on multiple occasions following sparring sessions. However, “No Love” hit back, literally, claiming to have KO’d TJ in training.
"I’ll spare everybody 60 bucks to buy the pay-per-view and put out the video of me knocking his ass out when I was 1-0. 1-0. He wasn’t saying that he made me cry in practice. That motherf**ker never made me cry. I wasn’t the one looking at the ceiling, being on my back looking at the ceiling, knocked out. So he’s just trying to do anything - the guy’s a horrible trash talker. Horrible."
If the pair were to meet inside the Octagon, fans would surely be in for a treat in the media coverage leading up to the fight. There has been bad blood between TJ Dillashaw and his former Team Alpha Male outfit ever since he departed alongside former coach Duane Ludwig to a new team.
With this narrative, and surrounding context, the fight will surely be a grudge match, with Garbrandt looking to defend his title, along with the honor of his gym and close friend Urijah Faber.
"I would get satisfaction from whoopin’ his ass, that’s for sure," said Garbrandt. “Just for what he did to the team. He sold out. He’s a sellout. He sold his friends, everybody that got him there. He forgot who got him to where he was at. Saw a little bit of money and f**kin’ ran. Ran away. But there was me always there, the uncrowned champ. I was the uncrowned champ when he was there."
TJ Dillashaw lost his belt in a split decision to Dominick Cruz last January, but has since rebounded with impressive wins over fellow contenders Raphael Assuncao and John Lineker.
Cody Garbrandt is similarly on a run of form. Having yet to taste defeat in his professional career, and following his emphatic win over Dominick Cruz, the 25-year-old has shown his business acumen. Aware of the multitude of fights that lie before him, Garbrandt is keen to sit down with his management and UFC bosses to decide which fight is best for him.