One massive win truly does has the power to change the fortunes of a fighter and for Cody Garbrandt, his ascent to the top of the MMA game was one that was swift and nothing short of destructive.
In the space of one night, a star was born and a legend, the former champion Dominick Cruz, was beaten for the first time since Urijah Faber caught him in one of his patented guillotine chokes back in 2007.
Few gave Cody more than a puncher’s chance going into this bout but when the octagon doors closed, Cody came alive and delivered one of the performances of the year, outclassing Cruz wherever the fight took place. Considering that his stock had taken some damage in the days that preceded the fight due to some seemingly immature responses to Dominick’s trash-talk, the way in which Garbrandt conducted himself in that fight earned him a legion of new fans, a UFC belt and now, a spot in the top-5 of the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings.
The rankings, which are voted for by several esteemed members of the MMA media, now show ‘No Love’ holding the fifth ranked spot, with him having just defeated the list’s former-third placed fighter.
He now finds himself sandwiched between the UFC’s heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, and the legendary featherweight strap-holder, Jose Aldo. Not bad for a guy who kicked off the year of 2016 as nothing more than a hot prospect by taking on the unranked Augusto Mendes.
The pound-for-pound listings are as follows:
1 Demetrious Johnson
2 Conor McGregor
3 Daniel Cormier
4 Jose Aldo
5 Cody Garbrandt
6 Stipe Miocic
7 Joanna Jedrzejczyk
8 Dominick Cruz
9 Tyron Woodley
10 Michael Bisping
11 Amanda Nunes
12 Max Holloway
13 Khabib Nurmagomedov
14 TJ Dillashaw
15 Luke Rockhold
With no shortage of options now available to the young champ, the next probable matchup for him will more-than-likely be a title-defence against the former champion, TJ Dillashaw, whose ties to Cody’s own gym Team Alpha Male and consistent run against his fellow 135lb-ers make him the most obvious and easily marketable next contender for the bantamweight division.
But for now, all Garbrandt can do is sit back and enjoy the rewards of the great win that he has achieved. 2016 certainly was a crazy year for the sport and even in its final days, it served up some moments that truly shook the MMA world to its very core.