Cody Garbrandt grew up on wrestling mats and inside boxing rings as he molded himself into a fighter who would one day become UFC bantamweight champion.
As a mixed martial artist, Garbrandt is able to use all those weapons he honed during his early days in Ohio, but he still has passion for each individual sport as well.
That’s why Garbrandt will be rooting for Conor McGregor to handle himself in the fight with Floyd Mayweather this weekend because he hopes to one day step inside the boxing ring for a lucrative match-up as well.
Garbrandt still practices the sport of boxing on a regular basis and would love nothing more than to test himself against the best of the best inside the ring just like he does whenever he’s competing in the Octagon.
“I want Conor to go in there and do well cause it would be great for fighters like myself who have a boxing background,” Garbrandt said when speaking to MMAWeekly.com. “I grew up in the trenches; I grew up in the boxing world. To be able to go in there and I want to be the Bo Jackson of MMA.”
Now make no mistake, Garbrandt isn’t trying to steal McGregor’s thunder because he was able to convince the UFC to allow him to fight Mayweather in a mega-fight that could end up as one of the most lucrative events of all time.
Really, Garbrandt just hopes that McGregor can go out and put on a good performance, even in a losing effort, because that might open the door for more opportunities for other fighters in the future.
“Let Conor go in there and do his thing and that’s it,” Garbrandt said. “He’s the champ, he’s gone out there and done what he’s supposed to do to his opponents besides the [Nate] Diaz fight, but that was an entertaining fight and that’s what built his brand and his name off those fights. So let him go in there and test himself against the best and I hope that he does well. Because if he goes in there and gets (expletive) knocked out and beat up, they’re going to say MMA is (expletive) bunch of dumb rednecks fighting. We’re fighters in here.
“So let him go test the waters and see how he does, but I hope he does well so down the line, it looks like the UFC really likes promoting this fight over some of their own even. It’s entertaining for everybody. It’s the biggest fight to ever happen. Just the spectacle of it. I hope that Dana [White] will let us go in there and dabble in the boxing promotion and start a boxing promotion crossed over with the UFC. Why can’t we fight those boxers?”
Funny enough, UFC president Dana White has worn a t-shirt decorated by the words “Zuffa Boxing” several times over the past few weeks while promoting the fight between Mayweather and McGregor, so it appears anything is possible in the future.
With Garbrandt focused on his return to the Octagon in November for his showdown with T.J. Dillashaw, he’s solely focused on MMA right now, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t like to crossover into boxing one day in the future.
While Garbrandt may not be able to land a fight with someone like Maywaether, there are plenty of other candidates out there closer to his weight who could make for an interesting match-up opposite of the UFC’s king at 135 pounds.
“I would love to fight [Vasyl] Lomachenko. He’s a puzzle to solve,” Garbrandt said when asked about the reigning WBO junior lightweight champion “No one’s solved that yet so it would be exciting. I’ve studied his movement, he moves well. It would be an entertaining fight.
“Down the road, all the chances in boxing. 140 [pounds] and below, I’d love to get in there.”