Garbrandt has been booked to fight Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 202, August 20th, after bombing out fellow prospect Thomas Almeida in the opening round. Following that ridiculously, impressive win, there was talk about Garbrandt fighting for the title next. But, since the Team Alpha Male fighter is a recent addition to the top ten ranks, the UFC went in another direction.
Now, this doesn’t mean that talk about Cruz – Garbrandt hasn’t continued. After all, the latter is teammates and friends with Cruz’s rival, Urijah Faber. Case in point, during a recent interview with Inside MMA, here’s what “No Love” had to say about the champ (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“Dominick Cruz can’t knock anybody out. He’s got grapes for hands…Dominick knows that I’m coming for him, like everyone. He’s the champion so he has an X on his back but I’m definitely in his head and he knows he doesn’t want to fight me. That’s why he wants to move up, talk about moving up to  and fighting some other people. He’s trying to either get out of the division or retire before he has to fight me.”
There you have it. Now, Cruz supporters would likely argue that the champ isn’t trying to avoid him. It’s just a classic example of the champ saying a rising contender needs to score another big win. After all, Garbrandt isn’t ranked in the top five, and Bryan Caraway and TJ Dillashaw are in title shot positions.
But, if Cruz continues to hold the belt, you know this is a match-up the UFC would love to book. Mizugaki, however, could be a tough out for Garbrandt.