UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandt will defend the gold against former Champion TJ Dillashaw at UFC 213.
Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz has fought both and after UFC 213, the former champion wants to fight the winner.
“I just had to give my body a little rest from the beatdown from martial arts for a couple of months,” Cruz said on The MMA Hour. “I fought those three fights last year. That’s three title fights against some of the best guys in the world, back-to-back, after the layoff I had. That was a good year for me. I put a lot of work in. And so I took a little bit of time, three or four months I’ve taken to just heal. I’ve been training. I shot stem cells into both of my feet, I shot stem cells into my shoulders, just to make sure I take a second and I marinate and heal. Marinate and rest and just let my body get 100 percent. I’d like to come back and fight for the title. That’s my goal. I wasn’t completely out of that (Garbrandt) fight come that fifth round. I was still in the fight. I was in the fight the entire time, so I definitely want to get another shot at that, and that’s what I’m looking for and focused on more than anything, is fighting the winner of T.J. Dillashaw (versus) Cody Garbrandt. That’s what I want. I think that’s what the fans want.”
Cruz defeated Dillashaw to win the bantamweight gold at UFC Fight Night 81 and lost the title to Garbrandt at UFC 207.
The former champion has already spoken to UFC match maker Sean Shelby about facing the winner if the title fight.
“I told (UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby what I wanted to do,” Cruz said. “Sean Shelby is like, ‘well, I don’t know, I don’t know if that’s necessarily…’ He doesn’t know, he’s saying he doesn’t know. I’m saying this is the fight that needs to happen at 135 pounds. I mean, there’s three people in this division that people know, and it’s me, T.J., and Cody. And the reason why you know us three is because I’ve been fighting these two people and I’ve been talking about them and I’ve been building them on FOX and giving them a lot of shine, and I’ve also been bashing on them, too. But the mixture of the entire thing has built the three of us (up), and I think that between the three of us, we could probably fight for 10 years and always have a good fight. But realistically, that’s the fight that makes sense to me. It doesn’t make sense to go down in the division. I’m the No. 1 contender now, and to fight backwards in the division after the amount of title defenses I’ve had in the past, it doesn’t even resonate or make sense to me. I’m here to fight the best in the world, to fight for the title, and I think that I’ve earned that position. And if I got completely to where I wasn’t even in that (Garbrandt) fight, I could understand. But I was in that fight from beginning to end, and in that fifth round, I would even say that I won. So there’s still a case for me in this match-up with Cody or T.J., either one of them.”
Although Cruz didn’t specify which fighter he would prefer to fight, the current bantamweight champion in Garbrandt is the only one of the two to defeat him.