Dominick Cruz vs. Cody Garbrandt | UFC 207
In December of 2016, we saw one of the greatest battles at 135 pounds. Not just the fight, but the preamble heading into this bout was something for the ages. MMA fans had taken in as much as they could of the Dillashaw-Cruz rivalry, but this was on a completely different level.
Cruz continued to prey on Garbrandt's short fuse heading into this fight. Fans were eating up the pre-fight media. Whether it was press conferences or interviews, you could always count on Cruz to take it to a level that would surely send Cody into rage mode. All of the pre-fight shenanigans added plenty of excitement to this fight.
It is important to remember that at the time, Cruz was undefeated in almost 10 years and just beat his mentor Urijah Faber for the second time in three fights. On top of that, this was also after he beat TJ by a narrow split decision. Garbrandt, on the other hand, was this quick-footed, heavy-handed youngster looking to move up the 135 pound-ladder quickly. Even without all the heated exchanges, Garbrandt had every reason to go in there and rip Cruz's head off.
To many people's surprise, Cody was formidable against Cruz. He was able to cut the angles, then used his footwork and hand speed to land some great combos. He ended up taking a much-deserved decision win over Cruz. While this was a big win for Garbrandt, especially with the pre-fight hostilities, it was all about winning one for Team Alpha Male after Cruz dominated them for so many years. It was a true passing of the torch with Cruz finally losing in the UFC.