UFC 182: Cody Garbrandt is “Where I Want to Be” as Prospect’s Octagon Debut Nears
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although Cody Garbrandt has only competed in five professional fights, when the bantamweight makes his Octagon debut at UFC 182, he’ll be bringing years of experience into the cage.
Since Garbrandt turned pro in 2012, the 23 year-old has been followed by a top prospect narrative, due to an impressive record in amateur boxing and high school wrestling.
“I wrestled my whole life, I won state as a freshman and was a runner up as a sophomore, and due to some disciplinary actions and injuries during my senior year, I didn’t complete my high school wrestling career,” Garbrandt relayed on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio.
“I completed in boxing. I’m 32-1 as an amateur boxer, so I’ve had a very decorated amateur boxing experience…” furthered Garbrandt, who is set to face Marcus Brimage on Saturday night. “I’ve been competing my whole life and switched over to the cage at age 18.”
Despite his accomplishments in the ring, the fighter ultimately opted to focus on a career in MMA. Garbrandt made his amateur debut back in 2009, and proceeded to go 4-2, before transitioning into the professional ranks.
“Yeah, I definitely love boxing,” said Garbrandt. “Me and my Uncle would travel where I would fight Friday in Ohio, Saturday in Pennsylvania…so we were always going every weekend and boxing. It was fun going and fighting some of the top amateurs in that region.”
“I always had thoughts of going into pro-boxing, but MMA is so pure, and the closest thing to being primal that we have,” Garbrandt added. “I really switched gears and started focusing on MMA the past two years really, and it’s paid off, and now I’m where I want to be.”
Another key reason Garbrandt has been tapped as a leading prospect, is because he’s been honing his skills with the renowned Team Alpha Male. As any hardcore fans knows, the camp has helped mold numerous, amateur athletes into decorated, MMA fighters.
“I followed Team Alpha Male and Urijah Faber for a while, since I was younger, in junior high,” said Garbrandt, while discussing what led to his decision to leave Ohio last year and head for the famous, Sacramento gym. “In eighth grade I started to really watch him. He was the king of the featherweight division. I just watched him, watched his fights, his style, the way he lived his lifestyle, and I really gravitated towards him.”
“My buddy Lance Palmer is out here, and he was like ‘hey man, you gotta get out here, you gotta get out here’, and in between my pro debut, and getting ready for my second fight, I knew that if I wanted to take my talents to be the fighter I could be, I had to be out here with all these guys. Joseph Benavidez, TJ Dillashaw, (Chad) Mendes, I wanted to test myself and I wanted to see where I was at….I knew right then, the first day I stepped on the mats, this is where I wanted to be.”
UFC 182 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vega, Nevada.