UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt will defend his title against T.J. Dillashaw at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 8th as part of UFC 213 according to UFC president Dana White.
We have known about this match-up of one-time teammates turned bitter rivals for a number of months, but a date and venue was only confirmed on Saturday night during the UFC 210 post-fight press conference.
Asked about the possibility of Daniel Cormier, who had just successfully defended his UFC light-heavyweight title with a submission win over Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, facing former champion Jon Jones at the July event, White responded by saying, “Obviously, Cody and T.J. are already on that card, so yeah, we’ll see how that goes(via MMAJunkie).”
Garbrandt vs Dillashaw joins the recently announced welterweight bout between Donald Cerrone and Robbie Lawler on the card, which will act as the centrepiece of the annual International Fight Week festival. At present, there are also plans to add Michael Bisping’s middleweight title defence against returning welterweight great Georges St-Pierre to the line-up, but that bout has yet to be finalized.
Dillashaw lost the bantamweight title to Dominick Cruz at the beginning of last year at UFC Fight Night 81. Cruz went on to defend it once, against old foe Urijah Faber, before dropping the strap to Garbrandt via unanimous decision in December UFC 207.
Given the history between the two fighters and the fact that they had long been involved in a rather tasty public feud, a bout between Garbrandt and Dillashaw, who had bounced back from the defeat to Cruz with a solid pair of wins, seemed like the logical next fight to make.
The warring bantamweight pair were subsequently installed as rival coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 25, which began filming in January and featured a cast of welterweights who had previously acted as contestants on earlier incarnations of the show, with the promise that they would meet for the title some time after the show wrapped.
They now have a date. This should be a real summer sizzler.