For all the bravado he exudes, Cody Garbrandt has a heart-breaking past – a side of himself he gets into in an extremely honest new interview.
It seems as though everyone is quick to criticise Cody now following his second-successive TKO defeat to his heated rival TJ Dillashaw.
And it is understandable, to some degree.
Garbrandt is certainly one of the sport’s more volatile figures and on occasion, his approach to his heated rivalries has given fans a certain impression about him as a person.
But with such fame and pressure, it’s hard to project the person you really are on the inside to the world.
Anyone who has ever spoken with a camera a few inches away from their face will tell you that the entire dynamic of a conversation can change with the added third wheel and in the case of the former UFC champion Cody Garbrandt, who is known for his fiery and often nonsensical interview manner, it’s easy to assume a lot.
What we don’t see is the foundation that produced the guy whose first words as champion of the UFC’s 135lb division were to dedicate his win to a young cancer survivor or the harrowing back-story that led him to where he is now.
Speaking in an incredible new interview (via the YouTube channel I Am Second), Cody detailed the toughest challenge he has been forced to overcome to date and how his relationship with his brother Zach was an essential component in him coming through and excelling.
“There’s a part of the story where Zach came and intervened in my life, where I wanted to give up. I was a teenager. I think I was a senior in high school. I wanted to become a state champion again.
“I won state as a freshman, I got beat as a sophomore, I was injured as a junior. Wrestling was something I did my whole entire life, and I think losing the passion for that, I didn’t have any drive.
“I just felt unaccomplished, and I got in with the wrong crowd and started doing some drugs and partying and kind of living super carelessly, and it almost consumed my life. I felt like my road was running to an end.
“For a while, I wasn’t who I was. I was in a very dark place, a very very dark place, and almost hung myself.
“And my brother came in the door, and he saved my life. It’s the first time I’m talking about it, but I’ve never been more grateful for him.
“He just came in and busted down the door and gave me the biggest hug and sat there with me and cried with me and said everything was going to be all right.
“That was the day that, you know, really was a changing point for me and my life.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena