The UFC wanted ex-bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt to make a July homecoming, but his manager told the promotion to pump the brakes.
“He’s got a lot of fight left in him,” Ali Abdelaziz told MMA Junkie Radio. “The key (is) you’ve got to get him healthy and get him right. The UFC wanted him to fight in Sacramento (at UFC on ESPN+ 13). I want him to fight in October or November. Let’s get him right.”
The UFC would no doubt love to capitalize on Garbrandt’s draw in his adopted California hometown, which hosts an event on July 13. The problem for Abdelaziz is the date comes two months after Garbrandt completed a two-month suspension for his third consecutive knockout loss.
To the manager, that’s too quick of a turnaround. He considers Garbrandt (11-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) a son and believes another month or two can only do the ex-champ good. The aggressive style he brings to every fight is a double-edged sword that may thrill fans, but it requires more caution on career choices.
“You know what the problem is with Cody? He’s too much of a fighter,” Abdelaziz said. “If Cody fought the way (he did in the) Dominick Cruz fight, he’s going to be very hard to beat. But he’s got so much on his shoulder – a chip on his shoulders. If you punch him, he wants to kill you, he wants to eat your heart out. But that’s just Cody, love him or hate him.”
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Garbrandt has been laying low since a knockout loss to Pedro Munhoz at UFC 235. But he erupted with recent news of ex-champ T.J. Dillashaw’s positive test for recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO), claiming he’d warned the UFC’s anti-doping partner, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, about his bitter rival’s drug use. Prior to a a second fight at UFC 227, Garbrandt openly accused Dillashaw of using the banned substance.
Abdelaziz claims he and his client warned USADA about Dillashaw for the past three years, to no avail. He indicated a two-year suspension for the ex-champ doesn’t go far enough.
“If you’re an Olympic gold medalist, and you get caught with steroids, they take all your medals away – every medal you ever won,” he said. “T.J. Dillashaw, all his wins in the UFC should be taken away. We told USADA about this, … they ignored it.”
The manager clarified he has no ill will toward UFC vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky, who’s countered Abdelaziz’s claim by noting Dillashaw has been tested for EPO in three UFC bouts, including the UFC 227 rematch with Garbrandt.
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