Garbrandt suggests UFC bantamweight title tournament at Fight Island

Omnisport

Cody Garbrandt suggested a UFC bantamweight title tournament should take place at Fight Island after making a phenomenal return to the Octagon on Saturday.

In his first fight since March 2019, former bantamweight champion Garbrandt knocked out Raphael Assuncao at UFC 250 on Saturday with an incredible right hook just before the end of round two.

It was his first win since defeating Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight belt in December 2016, having suffered back-to-back losses to bitter rival T.J. Dillashaw and a knockout at the hands of Pedro Munhoz in his three subsequent fights.

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There is no champion in the division due to Henry Cejudo's retirement after defeating Cruz at UFC 249 and Garbrandt thinks it should be settled at Fight Island – a proposed new base for UFC, which will reportedly be in Abu Dhabi, to ensure fights continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Let's do a bantamweight tournament, let's get us in there," said Garbrandt in a post-fight news conference.

"Let's go to Fight Island for a few months, go get quarantined out there, bring our coaches … and let's go to war.

"Let's get this battle, get this tournament and see who the real champion is. Let's go back to the old-school days."

Garbrandt (12-3) is ready to get back inside the cage quickly and wants a bout with number-three ranked bantamweight Petr Yan next, with his ultimate goal being to regain the belt.

"It's been a long journey to get back to the win column. I went from 11-0 world champion at 25 years old and [to] a three-fight skid," he said.

"That sometimes happens in life, we go through those growing periods and that's what it was, a growing and learning period.

"I kept motivated, kept driven and just kept having to pick myself up from ground zero and build myself up mentally, physically and emotionally, and my passion and love for the sport is here to stay. I'm excited to be back.

"There's only one name I want to fight in fight island and that's Petr Yan. Dana, I'm healthy, I'm ready, I want this strap back, I want this world championship back.

"It's vacant for a reason and that's my destiny to get it back. So I'll go through whoever they need me to go through, but it's inevitable it's mine."

Dillashaw is serving a two-year suspension after testing positive for EPO but will be clear to return to UFC in 2021.

Asked about the possibility of facing Dillashaw for a third time, Garbrandt said: "We're talking about T.J. who is still suspended, he's not even here, but that's a fight I'd like to get back.

"We all knew what he was on, we all knew what he was doing. He's serving his sentence, he's gonna have to live with that for the rest of his life.

"It's sad, I kinda feel bad for the guy he has no confidence that he has to use those kind of aids as a fighter. We'll see.

"I'm gonna have the world championship and if he works his way back up there, open doors let's get it."

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