The heated rivalry between former teammates Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw was very real heading into UFC 217. The two fighter’s had been at each other throats for quite awhile before finally stepping into the octagon in Madison Square Garden earlier this month.
After being saved by the bell in the opening round, Dillashaw was able to regroup and get a finish in the second, but it’s very apparent that this wasn’t the last time Dillashaw and Garbrandt would face off,
Team Alpha Male’s Justin Buchholz has been around through all training, injuries, and the drama in between and offered his insight on what happened during the UFC 217 co-main event.
“When it comes to Cody regaining the title, it’s honestly just the focus he has,” Justin Buchholz told MMAjunkie about Garbrandt’s fight with Dillashaw “A focused Cody Garbrandt, man, you saw what he did against Dominick Cruz. You saw what he did last year. And he was on the losing end of kind of a firefight. It will be an interesting process, coming back.”
Garbrandt’s struggles with injuries prior to UFC 217 were well documented and they undoubtedly hindered his preparations.
“Honestly, Cody, he was hurt a lot this year, this is a known fact. The fight is won or lost in the gym. It’s such a known fact. So the camp going into it, it’s everything. With Cody’s injuries and what was going on with the gym. I just felt like, especially to get someone like T.J., T.J. is one of the most sickest competitors I’ve ever seen. He will train hard, and he will do whatever it takes to win this fight and this competition. He’s so ultra competitive.
“Cody has that competitive streak, as well, but I’ve never really seen another fighter like T.J. who has that type of just singular focus like that. And to train for T.J. Dillashaw for a year, this guy’s training, just in the gym, just trying to get back everything that he thinks was taken from him or whatnot. And this is the guy we’re going to face. I knew we were in for a tough fight.
“People would always ask me, they’d say, ‘What is the tougher fight?’ They’d do the MMA math, and they’d say, ‘Cody humiliated Dominick Cruz, and Cruz beat T.J.’ But that is MMA math. And we know it’s all bullsh*t. It doesn’t matter. It’s the setup. It’s the matchup. I knew we had a super tough competitor out there. And it was hard to get Cody the camp that I felt we needed to deal with someone like T.J.”
Buchholz is still extremely confident in Cody’s ability and says his athletic pedigree is how he was able to nearly finish Dillashaw at the end of round one.
“With all that being said about Cody’s camp, he still almost put away in the first round,” Buccholz said. “That is a credit to how amazing of an athlete and a fighter he is. He was looking good. He was looking good and got caught with that kick.”