Cody Garbrandt questions T.J. Dillashaw’s power after USADA testing started

Cody Garbrandt wonders if T.J. Dillashaw no longer knocking people down has something to do with the drug testing in the UFC

UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt isn’t lobbing accusations about cheating at T.J. Dillashaw but he does have some questions about how his former teammate no longer seems to have the power to knock anybody down lately.

While there are a ton of great fights at UFC 217 this weekend, none have a more divisive back story than the co-main event where Garbrandt has been at Dillashaw’s throat ever since he skipped town and split with Team Alpha Male.

In the lead up to their fight a lot of history has been rehashed, but just recently Team Alpha Male grappling coach and former “Ultimate Fighter” winner Chris Holdsworth accused Dillahsaw of using “special supplements” when he was training at the Sacramento based gym.

Holdsworth’s accusations come more than a year after team founder Urijah Faber had a similar story regarding Dillashaw and now Garbrandt is piling on without actually accusing his upcoming opponent of any wrong doing but rather just looking at the statistics in his most recent fights.

“T.J. went from knocking guys out in the fourth and fifth round to not knocking anybody on their ass in 2016. That guy he hasn’t dropped anyone last year,” Garbrandt said ahead of UFC 217.

“So you tell me. I’m just going off stats and past fights. He doesn’t move like he used to move. I don’t know if that’s pre-USADA, post-USADA. I know in my mind 100-percent but I’m just going off stats and fights. He hasn’t dropped anyone in 2016.”

Of course, Garbrandt still knows regardless of past wrongdoing on Dillashaw’s behalf that he’s still managed to put together an impressive record in recent fights and that’s why he’s getting a shot at the belt on Saturday night.

It’s also been at least two years since Garbrandt and Dillashaw trained together so what happened in the gym between them probably won’t play a huge factor when they square off inside the Octagon.

What Garbrandt can use as a gauge, however, is a recent fight they’ve both shared against former champion Dominick Cruz.

Dillashaw lost a heartbreaking decision to Cruz at the start of 2016 in a back and forth battle that cost him the UFC bantamweight title. Fast forward 11 months later and Garbrandt put on a masterful showing as he dismantled Cruz over five rounds to complete his improbable run from unranked at the start of the year to becoming champion by the end of December.

“I went out there and had Dominick Cruz swinging at air, lost in there, not knowing what was going on, dropping him — dropping him more times than he’s ever been dropped — taking him down,” Garbrandt said. “[Cruz] was 0-7 in takedowns with me. He took T.J. down four different times.

“You can say what it is. I’m hitting my stride. I’m more confident, more experienced than a lot of people give me credit for.”

For all the talk and all the bad blood that’s shared between the two fighters, Garbrandt knows that it ultimate comes down to skill versus skill and without adding any unnecessary trash talk, he just believes he’s that much better than Dillashaw.

“T.J. can have a game plan. He’s got set patterns, set movements, set strikes. Him and Duane [Ludwig] think they’re the master and the ninja but this is real s–t out there,” Garbrandt said. “I’m taking a street fight mentality in there. I’m willing to die in there to come out with my title. Every time I step into the Octagon, I’m willing to leave it all on the line for a better life, for everything and my legacy.

“This is where I start my legacy. I beat Dominick Cruz, he’s a legend. Now I continue my legacy with T.J., who is a former interim champ, a great fighter, but this is another opportunity that I get to go out there, showcase my skills on the highest platform. I have everything to gain from this fight. I got the hunger back. When I’m hungry, I’m a scary dude.”

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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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