LAS VEGAS -- On the day he arrived in the UFC, Cody Garbrandt promised that he would be champion in 2017.
As it turns out, Garbrandt accomplished goal one day early after out dueling Dominick Cruz in a five round classic to win the bantamweight championship at UFC 207 on Friday night in Las Vegas.
Despite only five fights in the UFC leading into the bout, Garbrandt showed no fear while facing arguably the greatest 135-pound fighter in the history of the sport.
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As soon as the fight got underway it was clear that Garbrandt wasn't just gunning for the knockout as many predicted, but instead used fast footwork and incredible head movement to make Cruz miss at every turn.
In return, Garbrandt fired back counter shots that started tagging Cruz harder and harder as the fight moved forward.
Cruz refused to go away and continued to use his signature movement to stay on the outside before swooping in for fast, stinging combinations. Still, Garbrandt was clearly landing the better power shots throughout the first two rounds.
In the third round, Garbrandt started to take over with an offensive out pouring the likes of which Cruz had never seen before during his long title reign.
Garbrandt started hitting Cruz at will while frustrating the champion by never allowing him to gain any momentum with his own punches and kicks.
If Garbrandt won the third round, he absolutely dominated in fourth after knocking Cruz to the mat on two different occasions. Cruz looked flustered as he hit the mat -- a position he's rarely been in during his time atop the bantamweight division.
Rather than go crazy looking for the finish, Garbrandt stayed composed and instead just continued to pepper Cruz with punches in bunches over and over again.
As the fifth round started ticking away, Cruz continued his pursuit but he had to know he was down on the cards while Garbrandt smiled and taunted the champion.
When it was over the scores came back 48-46, 48-47, 48-46 -- all in favor of Garbrandt, who now stands as the new UFC bantamweight champion.
It was a masterful performance over five round as Garbrandt picked apart one of the most technical fighters in the history of the sport.
Afterwards, Garbrandt took his title and gave it to Maddux Maple -- the 10-year old boy from Ohio who the new champion befriended several years ago after hearing about his battle against cancer. It was undoubtedly a special moment for Garbrandt, who now stands tall as the new 135-pound champion of the world.