Cody Garbrandt will have to wait for his chance at a second UFC title.
Garbrandt was initially set to take on flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo at the UFC 255 pay-per-view event which takes place November 21.
However, it was revealed on Friday that the former bantamweight champion had pulled out and that Alex Perez would step in his place to challenge Figueiredo instead.
“No Love” would later reveal that it was a bicep tear that led to his withdrawal.
“I wanted to let everybody know I have a distal bicep grade 3 tear,” Garbrandt said during an Instagram live session. “I had COVID, I tested positive for COVID a few months ago and I wasn’t able to train MMA for about a month and a half. I kept my weight low, that’s why I’ve been cycling a lot just to keep the conditioning up.
“I got back into MMA training a little over two weeks ago so I just thought my bicep was sore. Just from training, hadn’t been doing MMA, been cycling a lot, doing strength and conditioning. Keeping my diet really clean and healthy. Been waking up at 141 [pounds] so my weight’s been good.”
Garbrandt Bicep Kept Getting Worse
As time went on, Garbrandt’s arm only got worse until he eventually went to the doctor and learned of the tear.
“My arm was sore for about two weeks just from getting back into MMA and hard training. Obviously, it was seven weeks out from the fight,” Garbrandt added. “So then Monday I went to strength and conditioning, training, finished with some bag work. My arm was a little tight. Thought nothing of it. Came back two or three hours later to work with my striking coach Michael Malott, had a great pad session then. Obviously it was still tight and sore. Later on throughout that night and evening, kind of throbbing pain, more sore than usual. So I put some CBD cream on it and took an edible and went to sleep. Passed out and woke up at 2 in the morning in excruciating pain.
“My bicep was really swollen up, off to the side. So I ended up waking up, texted my coach ‘hey I’m not going to make it to practice this morning, I think my arm is infected.’ I thought it was an infection. So I ended up at hill sprints at 1 with my coach and at 3:30, I was going to go see my physical therapist anyway. I usually go every Tuesday. So I texted my family doctor ‘I think my arm is infected, something is going on.’ So I went there, did an ultrasound on it and saw the tear.”
While Garbrandt was hopeful of still making the title fight — at least at a later December date — once the UFC was made aware of his injury, Perez was swiftly slotted in.
However, he understands the promotion’s position and is targeting championship glory in 2021 now.
“I went and saw at surgeon yesterday. Waiting to get an MRI to see if anything else is damaged,” Garbrandt said. “Spoke with the UFC to let them know I probably needed five weeks, I’d be back to training so I could fight at the end of December. They chose to replace me with Alex Perez. I can’t be upset or mad, the show must go on, I understand that.
“But they did promise me the title fight upon return of being healthy. Can’t fight destiny. It’s my destiny to be a world champion. It just wasn’t to be in November. So 2021, excited to get back in there.”
Garbrandt is coming off an emphatic second-round knockout of Raphael Assuncao to end a three-fight losing skid. If he does fulfill his goal of becoming flyweight champion in 2021, he will be just the eighth fighter in UFC history to be a champion in two different divisions.