Cody Garbrandt's potential drop to flyweight draws response from Henry Cejudo - Jaime Bonetti Zeller

Cody Garbrandt’s potential drop to flyweight draws response from Henry Cejudo

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Former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt says he has recovered from the kidney issues that forced him to pull out of a scheduled fight against Raphael Assuncao last month, and he is looking forward to booking a fight as soon as the UFC resumes operations following coronavirus-related postponements.

Garbrandt is even considering booking something in a new weight class.

Garbrandt (11-3) told ESPN he has unfinished business with Assuncao, but he has also discussed with his manager, Ali Abdelaziz, the possibility of dropping to flyweight.

“I walk around at 145 pounds. I’m strong, fast, and I can keep that at 25,” Garbrandt said. “That’s the plan. Me and Ali spoke about doing this. First, we were focused on Raphael and that’s still the fight to make — then go down and really save the flyweight division.”

The UFC considered closing the 125-pound flyweight division last year, but ultimately elected to keep it. The title is currently vacant as former two-weight champion Henry Cejudo recently left the weight class. UFC president Dana White has said he intends to book a rematch of a fight between Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo for the belt later this year. Figueiredo defeated Benavidez on Feb. 29, but because he missed weight, the bout was not for the title.

Garbrandt, 28, was forced to pull out of the Assuncao bout due to kidney issues that apparently stemmed from a staph infection during camp. He said he’s open to bouncing back and forth between both weight classes and believes even though he’s on an 0-3 skid, he’s only one fight away from a potential title shot.

“Henry’s fighting people coming off a loss,” said Garbrandt, referring to a scheduled title fight against Jose Aldo. “I might as well keep losing and I’ll get a title shot. He’s calling out Jose, when Jose just got beat by Marlon [Moraes]. He’s calling out Dominick Cruz; no one has seen him since I whupped his ass [in 2016].

“I get it. He wants a guy that moves the needle. I’m one fight away. I’m the biggest draw in the division, no matter what — bantamweight or flyweight.”

Garbrandt’s comments drew a response from Cejudo, who tagged him in a social media post on Saturday that read, “I own [flyweight] too. Nowhere to hide!”

Garbrandt has been knocked out in three consecutive fights, but he attributes that to fighting “without a game plan” and being too willing to brawl. Before his fight with Assuncao was canceled, the longtime member of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento had been cross-training with striking coach Mark Henry in New Jersey — and he says that he and Henry have corrected the mistakes he was making.

“I let those guys [get knockouts]. I let TJ [Dillashaw] do that. I let Pedro [Munhoz] do that,” Garbrandt said. “I fought in those kinds of fights [and was] susceptible to getting knocked out.

“The way I know how to fight, clear mind, clear heart, goal, vision, I have that back.”

About Jaime Bonetti Zeller

Jaime Bonetti Zeller is an investment professional and entrepreneur with businesses in multiple industries. He is president of Servicios Consulares Eurodom, the local partner in the Caribbean region for VFS Global, a leader global outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions and governments worldwide. Jaime Bonetti Zeller also started the company Sofratesa de Panama inc., an organization in the engineering services industry located in Panama City.