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Can Cody Garbrandt beat Deiveson Figueiredo to become the new UFC Flyweight Champion (Opinion)

UFC 227 Dillashaw v Garbrandt 2
UFC 227 Dillashaw v Garbrandt 2
ANALYST
Modified 12 Aug 2020, 11:29 IST
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Dana White recently announced that former Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandt will take on Deiveson Figueiredo for the UFC Flyweight Championship at UFC 255. Garbrandt currently competes in the Bantamweight division, and will likely go down a weight class to fight the current Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo in an attempt to hold Championship belts across multiple divisions.

Cody Garbrandt picked up an impressive unanimous decision win over former Champion Dominick Cruz back in November of 2017 at UFC 207 to grab the Bantamweight gold. However, Garbrandt failed to defend the title as he suffered a second-round TKO loss against TJ Dillashaw. Garbrandt would later lose in the rematch as well, losing the fight via first-round TKO. Cody Garbrandt failed to keep the impressive run, as he suffered his third consecutive loss inside the octagon when Pedro Munhoz knocked him out in the first round at UFC 235. However, Garbrandt made an emphatic return to the octagon at UFC 250 where he picked up a brutal KO win over Raphael Assuncao.

How will Cody Garbrandt perform at Flyweight division

Cody Garbrandt looked quicker, more technical, and made huge adjustments in his return fight against Assuncao. He looked a more improved version of himself and did not rush to get the finish. So with such a spectacular return, and having improved highly since we last saw him inside the octagon, was it the right decision by Cody Garbrandt to drop down the weight to fight someone as credible, and dangerous as Deiveson Figueiredo?

It is naturally tough for any fighter to drop down weight, and perform exceptionally at that weight class. If we look at fighters in the recent past who have dropped down weight, no fighter has been able to perform exceptionally well inside the octagon. It remains to be seen how Frankie Edgar will perform against Pedro Munhoz when they take on each other at UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs Munhoz. However, Jose Aldo hasn't had an impressive run after he dropped down to Bantamweight. Aldo lost to Marlon Moraes in his Bantamweight debut, and later succumbed to Petr Yan at UFC 251.

Edson Barboza also dropped down to Featherweight, and even though he looked impressive against Dan Ige in his last fight, he failed to make the impact in the new division. Darren Till citing issues with weight cut while he was in the welterweight division, and BJ Penn never going a weight class down, but always stepping up in the weight class is testimony that it's always better to go up a weight class. Conor McGregor started in the featherweight division and has now completely transitioned into a lightweight-welterweight fighter.

Alongside these fighters, they are many fighters including Anthony Johnson and Daniel Cormier who have gone up multiple weight classes and have still turned out to be equally brilliant inside the octagon. However, a weight class down is definitely a risk for Garbrandt against a lethal striker like Figueiredo.

How can the weight cut impact Cody Garbrandt

UFC 227 Dillashaw v Garbrandt 2
UFC 227 Dillashaw v Garbrandt 2
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Cody Garbrandt has been associated with having a "weak chin" ever since losing three back to back fights after his win over Dominick Cruz. Cody Garbrandt has gone recklessly trying to finish a fight, only to get caught with a counter punch or a swinging left hand. While the hiatus between his last fight and his big win over Assuncao may have helped his recover, weight cut could significantly impact his performance against Figueiredo in the title match.

Since it's a weight class that is at the lower end, and Garbrandt is a solid Bantamweight fighter, who looks like could match-up with Max Holloway at the Featherweight division, it's unlikely that we will see the same Garbrandt we saw at UFC 250.

We could make an argument that Cody Garbrandt is aiming at something that his arch-nemesis TJ Dillashaw failed to achieve at the Flyweight division. TJ Dillashaw suffered a first-round TKO loss against Henry Cejudo after he dropped down weight in an attempt to become a two-division champion. Henry Cejudo took on then Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw for the UFC Flyweight Championship and won the fight at 32 seconds into the first round to become a two-division champion. Dillashaw later tested positive for elevated levels of EPO.

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It's a brave attempt from Cody Garbrandt to jump down a weight class in just his second fight after his spectacular return to the octagon. Additionally, it's equally impressive to see him go against one of the most lethal strikers at the Flyweight division. Deiveson Figueiredo is a solid Flyweight Champion who outclassed one of the greatest Flyweight contenders of all time, Joseph Benavidez. Figueiredo has notable victories over Tim Elliot and Alexandra Pantoja. He has only lost once in his 20 career fights.

It's a tough match-up, and if Cody Garbrandt can hold back the same efficiency at the Flyweight division, there's a reason to believe that Cody Garbrandt can come out victorious to become of the very few fighters to hold Championship belts across two divisions. However, Figueiredo has it in him to upset Garbrandt, and humble him back to the Bantamweight division.

Published 12 Aug 2020, 11:29 IST
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