In their first go-round at UFC 217, Dillashaw recaptured the UFC bantamweight title against Garbrandt. Nine months later, Dillashaw successfully defended his crown in a rematch against Garbrandt at UFC 227.
The pair of former Team Alpha Male stablemates have been entangled in one of the most intense rivalries in UFC history. The feud began when Dillashaw left the Sacramento, California-based gym in favor of Duane Ludwig's Elevation Fight Team in Denver, Colorado.
But it wasn't until Garbrandt captured the UFC bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz that Dillashaw appeared on his radar. So how did their two fights go down?
UFC 217: Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw
After a stellar performance against the enigmatic Dominick Cruz, Cody Garbrandt appeared to be on his way to becoming a long-reigning champ in the UFC 135-pound division. Meanwhile, T.J. Dillashaw clawed his way back into the title picture with back-to-back wins over Raphael Assuncao and John Lineker.
Come fight night, Garbrandt had an encouraging start as he landed some massive shots early in the fight. 'No Love' came close to finishing the bout when he clipped Dillashaw with a right hand on the chin, but the challenger managed to survive until the end of the opening round.
Dillashaw came roaring back in round two, effectively using his kicks as his primary weapon. With over two minutes remaining in the second, Dillashaw got the better of Garbrandt during a fiery exchange of punches. The challenger dropped the champ with a right hook and finished him off with a few more ground strikes.
UFC 227: T.J. Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt 2
The former training partners-turned-bitter rivals ran it back at UFC 227 with their roles reversed. Cody Garbrandt was hoping to avenge his first career loss and regain the UFC bantamweight gold in the process.
However, the outcome of the rematch was very similar to the first fight, with T.J. Dillashaw putting his rival away with another right hook counter. In the end, Dillashaw's superior gameplan and Garbrandt's lack of adjustment proved to be the difference-makers.
“We were planning on him throwing a right hand,” Dillashaw said during the post-fight interview. “Every time he throws a right hand, he drops his left. He’s looking to throw a left hook. He’s fast. He throws a big right, left hand. But he drops it to his pocket. So were planning on timing it."