It was supposed to happen last month at UFC 213, but now the highly-anticipated UFC bantamweight title fight between Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw will take place at Madison Square Garden on November 4.
The first fight was scuppered due to a back injury sustained by Garbrandt, which left Dillashaw eyeing up a fight against UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. Thankfully, however, cooler heads prevailed and rather than go elsewhere Dillashaw will again look to challenge Garbrandt for bantamweight gold at UFC 217.
A grudge match between former teammates, Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw is more than just a meeting of the two best bantamweights in the world. It has story to it. It has ill feeling. It is, above all else, a fascinating style matchup between two men who have learnt from some of the same coaches and minds yet now find themselves on different paths.
Garbrandt, the champion, is 11-0 in his professional mixed martial arts career and won the UFC bantamweight title last December with a unanimous decision victory over Dominick Cruz. In what was a breakout night for the 26-year-old, Garbrandt displayed remarkable boxing skills and overall composure to essentially beat Cruz at his own game and shock the world.
Dillashaw, meanwhile, is 14-3 in his pro MMA career and was similarly spectacular the night he ripped the UFC bantamweight title from Renan Barao back in May 2014. Since then, however, the 31-year-old has lost the belt to Dominick Cruz and been itching to get it back. Last time out he scored a decision over John Lineker in December.
The UFC’s return to Madison Square Garden for UFC 217 will be headlined by a middleweight title fight between Michael Bisping and former welterweight king Georges St-Pierre.