Cody Garbrandt unimpressed by Thomas Almeida’s record into UFC Fight Night 88 main event

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Cody Garbrandt (photo credit David Dermer © USA Today Sports)

Cody Garbrandt fights Thomas Almeida on Sunday night in the main event of UFC Fight Night 88, and though Almeida boasts a 21-0 mark to Garbrandt’s 8-0, count the 24-year-old “No Love” unimpressed with the Brazilian’s past feats.

“Maybe I’m the underdog, he’s 21-0 but who has he fought? Maybe I haven’t fought anybody but I wouldn’t pad my record all the way up to 21-0,” Garbrandt said in an interview with “That’s what the critics are looking at – he’s 21-0 and he’s only 24 years old – but you can’t forget that I’m a better martial artist than this guy. I have more fights than him, I have more wrestling matches and that’s the toughest sport. I’m better at jiu-jitsu and I’m a better striker, which is what he’s good at.

“… I watched this guy when he first got to the UFC and everyone talking about him being an animal. I’ll take that guy out. I’d probably knock him out with my jab to be honest. A stiff jab will bust him all up. He’s got a soft face, he bleeds, he gets cut and he can do all that jump trickery [expletive] all he wants. Elbows, spinning back elbows, knees and you can do all that when you have somebody hurt and in range but if he wants to do a jump knee in range somewhere I can catch him, I’ll send him for a ride.”

Garbrandt’s predicting a first round knockout and another step closer to the UFC Bantamweight Championship. It’s a belt previously held by former teammate T.J. Dillashaw, one his mentor and teammate at Team Alpha Male, Urijah Faber, is trying to capture next week, and Garbrandt says it’s what he’s striving towards.

“That’s what I wake up everyday chasing. I wake up every day and visualize being the world champion,” Garbrandt said. “If you’re not here to be the world champion, to be the best fighter, then you need to pack your [expletive] up and go to a different promotion or go get a 9 to 5 or start a family or something else.

“It’s my will to be the champion. It’s in my mind to be the champion. I will be the champion. I’ve believed that since the first time I watched fighting and said I wanted to be a fighter.”

Penick’s Analysis: While Almeida’s pre-UFC career can certainly be considered a bit padded, he’s beaten the better fighters in the UFC thus far. Granted, Garbrandt can only beat whomever is put in front of him, so that’s a bit irrelevant if he pulls this victory off, but it’s hard to take record disparagement seriously when the fighter talking hasn’t exactly beaten a “who’s who” of opposition. Both are talented young fighters who have scored some highlight reel wins and who seem poised to compete in this division for some time to come. It’s a fine spot to be in for each of them, and whomever wins Sunday will simply take the next step up sooner than the other.

[Photo (c) David Dermer via USA Today Sports]

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