Newly crowned UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt has said that he is interested in taking on featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
Garbrandt defeated Dominick Cruz via unanimous decision at UFC 207 on December 30 to become champion.
While speculation is rife that a rematch could be on the cards or that Garbrandt could take on former champion T.J. Dillashaw, the 25-year-old said he is more interested in fighting Aldo.
“I need to sit down with Dana [White] and Sean [Shelby], and find out the biggest money fight for me,” Garbrandt said during an appearance on The MMA Hour on Monday. “I know I could go up and fight with Jose Aldo. He has wins over my teammates, he’s a legend, and I’d like to test his chin.
“I know I hit hard, and I’m just getting started. And I could also have the biggest fight with Conor [McGregor]. I could easily go up. My homie Nate Diaz choked him out, and I can’t believe he’s pound-for-pound No. 2 on the list, with, you know he got choked out.”
While Garbrandt acknowledged that there are many opponents that he could fight, he admitted that going up against Aldo would be the “biggest money fight”.
“There’s a lot of fights for me in the division, in the UFC division,” he said. “I am young enough to go up, and I’ll fight anybody. But to be honest, I truly believe that I’m ready to fight and I believe that I go out there and put on a performance. And I’m a draw.
“I want the biggest money fight for me right now. I think that I saw Jose Aldo say that he’d like to fight me, I’d like to test his chin. Like I said, he’s got wins over my teammates and I want to get every one of those back.
“But there’s so many fights for me. I’ve got to sit down with my management team, with Sean and Dana, and see what fights the best for me, and the biggest money fight. We’re all in this to get us all rich, to get us all paid. And that’s what I want to do.”
— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) January 2, 2017
Garbrandt said that he would be willing to give Cruz a rematch at some point in the future, but for now, he has set his sights on bigger and more difficult opponents.
“Yeah,” he said. “Whatever benefits me. I’m the champ. I’m the champ. I just went out there and beat one of the best pound-for-pounds, who’s been on the pound-for-pound [list] for however long now. I want the biggest draw. I think Jose Aldo…I want the biggest challenge.
“I’m in this sport to challenge myself. I just beat Dominick handily, and I’m ready for a bigger challenge. I think Jose Aldo is tough, I respect him, but I want to test his chin. I know I hit like a Mack Truck. Like I said, I’m just getting started, just getting comfortable.
“And you know, Conor, too. He knows that I’d go up to 150 and catchweight with him. Jose Aldo I’ll go up to 45. But yeah. I’m excited for the potential match-ups for me. I feel like I’m one of the biggest draws. I’m the biggest draw for Conor in the division, you know what I mean? I’m a rising star. Jose Aldo needs a fight. I think that he went out there and said that he’d like to fight me too.”
As for when he will be back, Garbrandt conceded that he wanted to take some time off to savour his victory over Cruz, but pointed out that he is aiming to step back in the Octagon by mid-2017.
“I think so, say June maybe, before summer,” he said. “Yeah, I think that would be a great time to come back and give somebody an ass-whooping. But yeah, me and Conor had the beef on The Ultimate Fighter. I mean, have nothing against the guy as far as a fighter. It’s a business to me. But I’ll tell you what, somebody puts their hands on me and I didn’t do shit about it, I’d be wanting to get them back each time. That’s for sure.”