T.J. Dillashaw - Photo by Kyle Terada/MMAjunkie

T.J. Dillashaw Finishes Cody Garbrandt with Punishing First Round TKO at UFC 227

T.J. Dillashaw cemented his place as the best bantamweight in the world as he put away Cody Garbrandt with a first round TKO at UFC 227

T.J. Dillashaw has officially closed the door on his rivalry with former teammate Cody Garbrandt after a stunning first round TKO at UFC 227.

It was just this past November that Dillashaw earned a similar win over Garbrandt to take back the title but he also endured an early knockdown in the first round that nearly cost him the fight.

While Dillashaw never believed Garbrandt deserved an immediate rematch, he stepped into the Octagon on Saturday night with a mission to finish this rivalry once and for all.

As the fight got underway, Dillashaw was elusive on the feet while using his signature footwork to stay out of the way of Garbrandt’s powerful punches.

The Ohio native was aggressive with his striking combinations as he looked to land the power shot that would put Dillashaw away.

Instead much like the first fight it was Dillashaw who drew Garbrandt into a firefight before he unleashed a devastating counter shot that put the Team Alpha Male fighter down on the mat.

From there it was all Dillashaw as he began raining down punches and hammer fists on Garbrandt in an attempt to get the finish.

To his credit, Garbrandt was able to get back to his feet but it was a temporary reprieve as Dillashaw just continue to pour on the punishment with a barrage of punches as well as a huge knee strike that blasted his former training partner.

Dillashaw finally got the finish after he landed several more unanswered blows as Garbrandt took more than enough as referee Herb Dean rushed into stop the carnage.

The stoppage came at 4:10 into the first round.

With the win, Dillashaw has effectively ended any chance that he’ll ever face Garbrandt again while also getting his eight victory in his past nine fights with his only loss coming in a controversial split decision to former champion Dominick Cruz.

Considering the laundry list of top bantamweights on his resume it’s tough to look at Dillashaw and not at least put him into the conversation as the best 135-pound fighter of all time.

Needless to say, Dillashaw agrees.

“This cements my legacy as the greatest bantamweight of all-time,” Dillashaw said after his win. “I could tell that Cody was already hurt when we started that exchange and then I lined up the shot. I got a little excited when I should’ve slowed down and finished him, but I got the job done. I love this game. I love to fight and I thank you all for your support.”

While Dillashaw said immediately after the fight was over that he was open to a showdown against new flyweight champion Henry Cejudo next, it seems more likely that he’ll stick around for the group of bantamweight title contenders hungry for a chance to challenge him for the belt.

Dillashaw could settle an old score with Cruz or potentially look at either Marlon Moraes or Raphael Assauncao as challengers now that he’s put Garbrandt into the rearview mirror once and for all.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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