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Cody Garbrandt reacts to his win in a bantamweight fight during the UFC 296 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 16, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
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Cody Garbrandt: All About Consistency And Control

Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandt Plans To Live In The Present At UFC 300 And Get A Big Win Over Deiveson Figueiredo.

After returning to the bantamweight division and posting two wins, including a blistering knockout finish of Brian Kelleher last December, it almost feels like 2016 all over again for Cody Garbrandt.

“It has little glimpses of that, for sure,” said Garbrandt, who opens Saturday’s UFC 300 card in Las Vegas against Deiveson Figueiredo. “I’m staying busy, staying healthy, getting knockouts, getting back to training, getting back to scheduling fights. So that's something I've been manifesting - staying busy, staying healthy and just evolving.”

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For the former bantamweight champion, a lot of his evolution has to do with going back to what got him to the top in the first place. Back in 2016, he fought four times, winning the first three over Augusto Mendes, Thomas Almeida and Takeya Mizugaki before putting on a clinic in outpointing Dominick Cruz over five rounds to win the UFC bantamweight title. It was one of the most impressive performances in a championship fight, but until last year, Garbrandt struggled, losing his belt, dealing with injuries, and going 1-5 before he turned everything around in 2023 by getting back to basics. May sound like an odd solution, but it worked.

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“I feel like simplicity is where I grow and where I flourish the most,” said Garbrandt. “When we try to add all this fancy training and new things as we're trying to evolve with the sport, really, the basics and just the hard work ethic and that grind day in and day out is what separates me from a lot of the field. It’s just being consistent, knowing there's peaks and valleys in there, and peaks and valleys outside of camp life. So yeah, simplifying it and just getting a structured routine and schedule that I live off of as a martial artist is what’s working.”

Wins over Trevin Jones and Kelleher, which took place after a year on the sidelines in 2022 that followed a one-and-done trip to the flyweight division against Kai Kara-France in 2021, showed that indeed, Garbrandt’s “keep it simple” philosophy is working. And while all is well in the world of “No Love” at the moment, you have to wonder if he now plays the what if game.

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“The hindsight's always 20/20 after a fight or after something happens in your life,” said Garbrandt. “You can dissect it and see what you did right and see what you did wrong. But right now, I just live in the moment and try to be present. I control what I can control, and things that I can’t control, I have to let go and not hold onto that. Little things in camp, like getting sick or injured, I used to beat myself up about. Now, I miss a practice or miss days of training, it’s sometimes s a blessing in disguise because maybe that's what your body, your mind, and your soul needed to let you come back a little bit refreshed. There are things in life, too, that you can't control. So, for me, it's just about living in the present and controlling what you can control.”

Cody Garbrandt Fight Week Interview | UFC 300
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Cody Garbrandt Fight Week Interview | UFC 300
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When Garbrandt is flowing like that and in a good space, mentally and physically, he’s delivered his best performances, and at 32, he’s likely to have some more of those left. He wants to add another clip to the highlight reel with the world watching on Saturday against an opponent he’s had his eye on for a while in the former flyweight champ turned bantamweight contender, Figueiredo.

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“Stylistically, I love the matchup,” said Garbrandt. “We were supposed to fight at ‘25 for the world title, so it's always been in my mind to fight this guy. He moved up to bantamweight, he has a win over Rob Font, he's in the rankings and, honestly, that's a guy that I can go out there and showcase a lot of my skills against and show him that there's levels to this. I'm excited to go everywhere this fight can take place, I want to show him that, and show myself that I can do this with one of the greatest flyweights to do it. I love the fight. It puts me right back at the top, and that's where I belong.”

Just like 2016.

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