Cody Garbrandt hasn't fought since last year while dealing with back injuries, and if he can't make it to his planned UFC 217 Bantamweight Championship defense against TJ Dillashaw, a more than suitable replacement in Dominick Cruz is willing to step in.
Cruz spoke to UFC Unfiltered recently and expressed his willingness to take the November fight against the two familiar foes, although he doesn't think that will really need to happen.
“I’m always training. I’ve been training this whole time. For me, the title shot is important to me. I’ve earned that shot. I held the belt for longer than anybody in this division. I helped build the division."
“I gave Cody that shot when I could have just fought TJ again. I’ve been doing this to build the division. I brought another guy up and fought him for the title because I wanted to another guy in the mix because we need it for the division. If either one of these guys gets hurt, I’d like to like to slide in and challenge for the title, 100-percent.I don’t think either one of these guys are going to pull out of that fight card.”
Neither Cruz or Garbrandt have competed since Garbrandt defeated Cruz for the title at December 2016's UFC 207 show. Cruz has missed over four years of his career dealing with various knee and foot injuries.
UFC 217 takes place on Saturday, November 4 from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York with Michael Bisping and Georges St Pierre headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.