#UFC 218 #Conor McGregor #Francis Ngannou #Alistair Overeem #UFC 217 #Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux #Max Holloway #Stipe Miocic #Mike Perry #Jose Aldo #GSP

NEW YORK – Cody Garbrandt wants to make a few things crystal clear: He’s the better fighter, and he doesn’t take back anything he said about new UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw heading into Saturday’s UFC 217 co-headliner.

He also wants a rematch.

But if you think a second meeting between the two rivals, who co-headlined at New York’s Madison Square Garden Arena in the year’s biggest pay-per-event, will be a little more civil the next time around, think again.

“I think I was being professional (heading into UFC 217) given the facts behind (the rivalry),” Garbrandt (11-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) said after his second-round knockout loss to Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC). “Still, I feel and think he’s a piece of (expletive) teammate. I stand beside my facts. He injured – he lies. Still. It doesn’t matter. Yeah, he won. Good for him.

“I’ll be back, and I’ll come with vengeance, and that belt’s going to be mine.”

It was a slightly harsher tone that the tweet he issued to his former Team Alpha Male teammate after the fight:

Still, as he sometimes choked back tears during the post-event press conference, Garbrandt, who nearly ended the fight at the end of the first round, kept coming back to a central point.

“Hats off to T.J.” he said. “He battled back from losing his title, and he was a hungry man. But I say I’m the better fighter in there, and I’ll show that in the rematch.”

Immediately after the fight-ending barrage of punches, Garbrandt and Dillashaw had a brief chat (which was captured by this viral photo).

Does Garbrandt remember what was said?

“I don’t,” he said. “He probably just yelled some (expletive). He had a lot of (expletive) he was carrying on – with all of the drama. And I stand behind everything I said. He’s still not a good person, but I respect him as a fighter. And that’s that.

” … I stand behind everything that I said about T.J., but I give him respect for going out there and capitalizing on a mistake, but I truly am the better fighter, and I want that rematch. I’m willing to put in the work and do whatever it takes to get the title back because it was something I was born to do.”

As for what’s next, Garbrandt didn’t have any immediate plans.

“If I have to fight and wipe out the whole (expletive) division, I will,” he said.

As for the big picture, he said he’s been in positions like this before. But he prefers not to dwell on the setbacks.

“I’ve been here before,” he said. “I’ve lost a lot in my life. I feel like if this is the worst thing that happens in my life, I’ve got a pretty good life.”

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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